Canada on Friday extended support to India's nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The agreement approved earlier in the day, will allow IAEA to inspect and supervise 14 of the 22 Indian nuclear civilian reactors.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister David Emersion, who announced Canada's support for the agreement, said 'Friday's decision will strengthen the international non proliferation regime by placing additional civilian nuclear facilities in the world's largest democracy under international monitoring.'
He said how 'India's rapidly expanding economy has an increasingly large demand for energy. Canada recognizes the need for India to employ clean energy solutions if we are to truly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power emits virtually no greenhouse gases, and it will play a critical role in developing a clean energy future as part of a global change strategy.'
This statement should imply that Canada, as member of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, is not likely to oppose giving final approval to the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement that will allow exports of US nuclear material and technology to India.
Canada's former Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew signed an agreement with his then Indian counterpart Natwar Singh in 2005 that was a sort of similar understanding in regard to civilian nuclear reactors.
"We made our case clearly earlier on and we (came to the conclusion) at that time it was time to move on," he had recently told rediff.com in an interview.
Pettigrew, now Executive Advisor (International) for Deloitte & Touche in Toronto, is likely to travel to India soon.
He said the nuclear agreement that he signed with Singh was 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'.
Pettigrew explained that he agreed to sign the nuclear agreement as 'India has huge energy needs. We believe that was part of the reasoning at that time that anything we could do to help India obtain an energy that doesn't contribute to the climate change and that it should be going in the right direction.'
In his statement from Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister Emersion appreciated 'efforts of the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the Government of India.
He said one of the key roles of IAEA in support of the nuclear non-proliferation regime is to verify that nuclear material and activities under safeguards are not used for military purposes.