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France, India sign civilian nuclear deal

Feb 20, 2006 - UPI

NEW DELHI - India and France put aside their current disagreements to conclude a civilian nuclear agreement that they said will be for peaceful purposes. The agreement was signed in New Delhi following talks between visiting French President Jacques Chirac and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reports the BBC.

The report noted the countries are involved in a dispute over a decommissioned French aircraft carrier that was not allowed to proceed to India to be scrapped because of concerns it contained hazardous materials. Another issue relates to a hostile bid, which Chirac is not happy about, by India-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal for the steel company Arcelor.

After concluding the deal, Singh told a news conference, "We appreciate France's support for the ongoing effort to enable full civilian nuclear energy co-operation between India and the international community."

India and the United States also are trying to conclude a similar deal that is completed before U.S. President George W. Bush visits India in March.