India, Canada expected to sign nuke deal in June


Chennai : India and Canada are expected to sign a civil nuclear deal during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the country in June that will increase the prospects of bilateral trade between the two countries, a Canadian High Commission official said.

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“Bilateral trade between India and Canada will increase manifold once the two countries sign the civil nuclear deal. The deal is expected to be signed this June when the Indian prime minister visits Canada,” Minister (Commercial/Economic) Mario Ste-Marie told IANS here.

The Canadian nuclear industry can offer its expertise to India in areas of technology, equipment and engineering services, he said, adding that the country makes heavy water reactors known as CANDU reactors (CAN Deuterium Uranium-CANDU) and sells overseas.

Last November India and Canada agreed on a civil nuclear deal that will enable New Delhi to access Canadian nuclear technology and uranium.

Ste-Marie was part of a delegation visiting here for talks with industries and state government officials to strengthen Canada’s overall bilateral commercial, political, scientific and academic relationship in south India.

“The bilateral trade between Canada and India is around $ 4.6 billion. This is expected to go up soon as several Canadian companies are interested in investing in India in the areas of power, information, communication and technology (ICT), infrastructure, mining and life sciences. Already Canadian companies have started investing in India,” he said.

“In the last 24 months, there has been over 20 high level official visits between Canada and India,” he added. Both the countries have agreed to triple the bilateral trade over the next five years.

On Thursday, the team met officials of Larsen and Toubro (L&T) here and explored areas of mutual interest.

“L&T operates in various infrastructure projects like capital equipments and nuclear power. Canada is interested to participate in the development of infrastructure in India. India needs several companies like L&T to build its infrastructure,” Ste-Marie said.

On the status of the joint study group set up to take forward the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or the FTA, Marie said: “We expect the report to be ready this May. The six-member group met once and will be meeting again in April to finalise the report.”

The visiting High Commission team will also meet Chennai Port Trust officials to export the possibilities of cooperation in port management.

Last year Chennai Port signed a sister port agreement with Port of Halifax, Canada for cooperation in port management activities.

Citing the $8 million investment in a new plant by SDP Telecom near here to make telecom equipments, Marie said: “Tamil Nadu is now an important state for business.”

Referring to the agreement signed between Canada’s Schulich School of Business (SSB) and the Mumbai based S. P. Jain Business School Simon Cridland, head-Advocacy Programme told IANS: “Education is one of the important areas of cooperation that Canada is looking at India.”

“Canadian Universities can help in setting up institutions and drawing up the educational programmes,” Marie added.