Canada and India on Tuesday finalized the terms of a bilateral nuclear deal that will pave the way for Canadian firms to export uranium and other nuclear supplies to India for the first time in almost four decades.
The nations also set a bilateral trade target of $15 billion by 2015 during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to India, which came after bilateral negotiators overcame a deadlock since 2010 over monitoring of the nuclear exports.
Canada banned the trade of nuclear materials with India in 1976 after India used Canadian nuclear technology to build its first atomic bomb in 1974.
“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,” Harper said in a written statement, news agencies reported.
“It is expected to generate millions of dollars in new business contacts between our countries and to create high-quality new jobs here at home,” he said.
Though the deal was agreed on two years ago by Singh and Harper in Toronto, it was delayed due to differences between the nations over supervision of the use of Canadian nuclear supplies.
India is planning to set up around 30 nuclear facilities to meet its growing energy needs and aims to get a quarter of its electricity from nuclear plants by 2050.
"The governments of Canada and India will take the necessary steps to bring the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement into force in a timely manner," Singh and Harper said in a joint statement without specifying a time table.
The deal marks the end of decades of awkward diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Ottawa after India became the first nation outside five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to conduct a confirmed nuclear test in 1974 using plutonium created at a reactor supplied by Canada.
Though India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), New Delhi won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for trading of nuclear supplies and technologies with other nations.
India has trade agreements on nuclear trade with the U.S., France and Russia, while negotiations with Australia are ongoing.