LONDON: Marking a new phase of their rejuvenated partnership, India and Britain have capped years of negotiations by signing a civil nuclear cooperation pact that will enable enhanced collaboration in areas of atomic research and safety.
The nuclear cooperation agreement was signed after the two sides held delegation level talks in the British capital on November 12.
“The conclusion of the civil nuclear agreement is a symbol of our mutual trust and our resolve to combat climate change,” Mr Modi said at a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The ongoing efforts to upscale the share of atomic electricity in India’s energy mix are animated by the drive towards clean energy and sustainable development – key focus areas for the Modi government.
“The agreement for cooperation in India’s Global Centre for Clean Energy Partnerships will strengthen safety and security in the global nuclear industry,” said Mr Modi while underlining the India-UK collaboration to combat climate change.
The details of the nuclear agreement are not clear, but it’s expected to be a full-spectrum agreement. Nandini Singla, joint secretary in charge of Britain in India’s foreign office, stressed that “it’s a full chain agreement covering the whole chain of the nuclear cycle. “It includes research, it includes exchange of best practices especially in areas like decommissioning where the UK has superior technologies,” she said, adding that the deal opens up “a whole world of opportunities for collaboration for both countries.”
The India-UK civil nuclear agreement comes at a time when London has shed its anxiety about atomic energy and is planning the commissioning of new nuclear plants. The deal also comes after China announced the setting up of a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point C in south-west England during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country last month.
India has signed civil nuclear deal with more than half a dozen countries, including the US, France, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The nuclear deal with Britain, which was embroiled in differences over proliferation and liability issues, marks 2.0 phase of the India-UK relationship, which is crystallised in the ongoing visit of Prime Minister Modi to Britain. The talks between Mr Modi and his ardent British host have culminated in a new vision statement to uplift the India-UK relationship, which includes enhanced economic ties and security cooperation between the two vibrant democracies.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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