It has taken Canada 36 long years to realize that it was not fair on its part to accuse New Delhi of misappropriating Canadian reactor designs when India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974. This had led to the relations between the two countries getting frosty. Canada, along with certain other countries, imposed sanctions on India in 1998 after New Delhi went ahead with fresh nuclear tests to emerge as a nuclear weapons state. Now the situation has changed with the signing of the India-Canada Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Toronto on June 28. As a result, India will be able to get nuclear fuel supplies and the latest reactor technologies from Canada, whereas the companies engaged in nuclear trade in Canada will be free to participate in the growth of India’s fast expanding nuclear power sector.
Canada is the seventh country to have entered into an agreement to do nuclear trade with India after the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008. Among the other countries are Russia, Britain and France. The historic deal with the US led to the powerful Nuclear Suppliers Group removing curbs on doing nuclear business with India, despite its not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. All this has been possible because of India’s impeccable credentials as a responsible nuclear weapons power. India, however, remains committed to the objective of nuclear disarmament.
India’s efforts for access to the latest nuclear technology and uninterrupted fuel supply are aimed at increasing its nuclear power generation to meet the country’s rising energy demand. Nuclear power being the cleanest energy available to mankind, India has been on the lookout for all kinds of help to expand its nuclear power sector considerably. The civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Canada has special significance as it has vast reserves of uranium, besides oil and natural gas. The volume of trade between the two countries is too low despite a large number of Indians having settled in Canada. There is need to enhance their relations in all areas, including trade and industry.
Courtesy: The Tribune