Discussions on use of nuclear energy, nuclear non-proliferation norms, arms control and disarmament were front and centre of lengthy official discussions between visiting India's External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and his Canadian counterpart, Pierre Pettigrew, Monday morning.
After their meeting, it was announced by Pettigrew's office that the two ministers discussed relations between Canada and India and agreed on new areas for cooperation.
The subjects included 'non-proliferation, arms control and disarmament, international security issues, including Afghanistan, South Asia and counter-terrorism'.
In a media release, Pettigrew's Director of Communications Sebastien Theberge, said Canada agreed 'to allow the supply of nuclear-related dual-use items to Indian civilian nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, in accordance with the requirements of the Nuclear Suppliers Group's dual-use guidelines.
The two ministers also agreed to pursue further opportunities for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy both bilaterally and through the appropriate international forums, consistent with their international commitments.During their meeting in January in New Delhi, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin had extended an official invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Canada. Pettigrew welcomed Singh's confirmation that the Indian prime minister will visit Canada sometime next year.
"I welcome Foreign Minister Singh's visit and the occasion to advance the already dynamic partnership between Canada and India," the Canadian minister said in a statement from his office in Ottawa.
He conceded, as Prime Minister Paul Martin did last week, that India is a "global power and an important partner with whom we are building an intense, broad and enduring relationship".
The two ministers discussed the progress on the joint declaration issued by Indian and Canadian prime ministers in January and, according to Pettigrew's office, they noted that advances have been made in all of the key areas of the joint declaration: a science and technology initiative, environmental cooperation, a partnership for prosperity, people-to-people links between Canada and India, and foreign policy issues.'
They also agreed to support scientific and technical contacts on a broader range of civilian nuclear issues within the public domain.
Singh and Pettigrew reaffirmed the importance of deepening people-to-people and academic linkages between the two countries. Pettigrew confirmed Canada's ongoing support for the work of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, which promises, among other things, innovative science and technology partnering between Canadian and Indian member universities.