NEW DELHI: India and Canada on Tuesday made the biggest breakthrough in their relations since 1974 when they finally concluded the nuclear negotiations on the deal signed in June 2010 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Toronto for the G-20 Summit.
Since they suspected that India had used the nuclear fuel and technology supplied by it for exploding the first bomb in 1974, Canada had slapped sanctions on India.
Under the new nuclear deal, Canada has been insisting on guarantees from India about the use of its supplied fuel and technology.
But India has been insisting only on safeguards under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means that it will use imported nuclear material, equipment and technology only for civilian purposes.
As Canada’s atomic energy market is desperate to enter the billion-dollar Indian nuclear energy market, Ottawa has been softening its hard stand on the issue.
The nuclear deal will open the gates for the Canadian nuclear industry to send exports worth billions of dollars to India and facilitate joint research and commercial ventures.
“Our Government is committed to promoting greater trade and investment with India. The conclusion of the Administrative Arrangement with India will facilitate opportunities for Canadian companies to play a greater role in meeting India’s growing energy needs,’’ said the Canadian prime minister, who is on a six-day visit to India, after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“It (nuclear deal) is expected to generate millions of dollars in new business contacts between our countries and to create high-quality new jobs’’ in Canada, Harper said.
The Canadian PM added, “We’ve worked very closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to confirm they achieved all of our objectives in terms of non-proliferation.’’
Currently, Canada’s nuclear industry generates about $5 billion annually.
The two countries also signed various agreements and MoUs on social security, information communication technology and electronics, and joint research and development in defence science and technology.