France firmed up a 7 billion euro (US$9.3 billion) deal to sell two nuclear reactors to India yesterday following talks between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
India signed a “framework agreement” with France’s state-run nuclear group AREVA for the purchase of two reactors for a new plant in Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra.
“Negotiations [with AREVA] have reached an advanced stage to pave the way for the launching of nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur in partnership with Indian industry,” Singh told a joint press conference.
The deal is short of a final sale agreement, but it means Arena has moved ahead of competitors from the US and Japan in the race to sell reactors to India, which is investing heavily in atomic energy.
Russia is already constructing two nuclear power units in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
The Maharashtra plant is set to ultimately have six reactors, but the first two are worth 7 billion euros, according to the French presidency.
Sarkozy is on a four-day trip to India, where he is seeking deeper trade ties while acknowledging his hosts’ increased role on the world stage.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama have both swept through India with similar messages recently, as Western nations look for export opportunities in a fast-growing country seen as a natural ally in Asia.
Sarkozy heads a delegation of six ministers and about 70 chief executives, including the bosses of aircraft and defense groups Dassault Aviation and EADS.
France recently took over the presidency of the G20 group of developed and major developing economic powers and Sarkozy sought support for his agenda, while also strongly backing a more influential role for India in world affairs.
He reiterated his support for India to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council — a key foreign policy objective for New Delhi — and suggested it might simply transform its current temporary seat in 2012.
According to the French presidency, Singh has pledged his “support” for Sarkozy’s G20 program, which includes overhauling the global monetary system and combating commodity price volatility.
France is also seeking a slice of the billions of US dollars earmarked by India for a military upgrade, but competition is fierce among foreign arms manufacturers and no contracts were signed yesterday.
The president and his wife Carla Bruni, a singer and former model, went sightseeing at the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri on Sunday after a romantic sunset visit to the Taj Mahal on Saturday.
The French leader last visited India in 2008, just before he married Bruni, and he vowed then to return with her to see the Taj Mahal, located in the city of Agra 200km from New Delhi.
India and France yesterday also signed agreements to cooperate more closely in space — the countries are to jointly launch satellites to monitor the climate and oceans next year — and arts and culture.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread
RISKY BUSINESS: The Chinese firm has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of 5G equipment not covered by US sanctions, but fears a wider ban could be announced in the UK Huawei Technologies Co believes it can supply 5G hardware unaffected by US sanctions to the UK for the next five years, sidestepping the expected conclusion of British emergency review on Tuesday. The company has stockpiled 500,000 pieces of kit, but fears a wider ban on its equipment is to be unveiled to placate rebel British Conservative Party lawmakers, who say that the Chinese supplier represents a national security risk. The British government on Friday said that it was “very likely” that British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden would make a statement to parliament on Tuesday