NEW DELHI: India will soon sign a civil nuclear energy agreement with Canada, paving the way for supply of uranium and cooperation in research, development, waste management and radiation safety in atomic sector.
The pact on civil nuclear cooperation will be inked during the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Toronto for the G-20 Summit from June 25 when he will meet his Canadian counterpart Mr Stephen Harper for a "substantive" bilateral engagement.
Dr Singh is also expected to meet other world leaders, including the US President, Mr Barack Obama and the Chinese President, Mr Hu Jintao, who will be attending the Summit.
Briefing reporters on the visit, the secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, Mr Vivek Katju said the bilateral engagement will give a fresh impetus to the economic and commercial cooperation between India and Canada in the areas of science and technology, health, agriculture and culture.
He said a number of agreements and MoUs were under active negotiations and are likely to be concluded and signed during the visit. These included cooperation in civil nuclear energy cooperation, social security, mining, higher education and culture, he said.
Asked about Canada’s negative response to India’s atomic tests in 1974, Mr Katju said "We don’t look back, we look to the future."
The nuclear pact would cover areas of research and development in nuclear energy, nuclear waste management, radiation safety and environment protection, he said.
Officials, however, parried questions on whether the agreement would allow setting up of Canadian reactors, saying let the deal be first finalised.
Terming the civil nuclear agreement with Canada as "very positive", the foreign secretary, Ms Nirupama Rao said the sky has opened up for India.
Asked if the recent incidents of denial of visas to some Indian officials will be raised by Dr Singh during his meeting with Mr Harper, Mr Katju said the government had taken up the matter and they had regretted it.
The External Affairs Minister has already said that the "chapter is closed", he said.
On the presence of pro-Khalistan elements in Canada, Mr Katju said India was "cognisant" of the activities of such elements and has drawn the attention of interlocutors to tell them that these were "undesirable and doesn’t help the relations".
Asked about a recent resolution by the Canadian Parliament terming the 1984 anti-Sikh riots here as "genocide", Mr Katju said the leader of the party which moved the petition has disassociated himself from it.
On the Kanishka disaster report, he said the government was studying the report and its findings that the extremism which led to the tragedy was not given "sufficient" attention prior to the disaster.
To a question whether Dr Singh would raise with Mr Harper concerns over the China-Pakistan nuclear deal under which two additional Chinese nuclear reactors will be supplied to Islamabad, Ms Rao said India was not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and was monitoring the debate on the issue.
On the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries, Mr Katju said the Joint Study Group, constituted during Mr Harper’s visit to India in November last, has submitted a report which was under consideration.
On the fourth G-20 Summit to be held on June 26 and 27, Ms Rao said the theme of Summit was "Recoveries and New Beginnings" and the focus will be implementation of the decision taken in the previous meetings and new strategies.
Global leaders can be expected to deliberate upon the economic recovery and the framework for strengthening sustainable growth, reforms in international financial and regulatory bodies and to reiterate the fight against protectionism.
The meeting will also discuss issues relating to withdrawal of stimulus package and exit strategies.