France said on Tuesday that the Nuclear Suppliers Group's waiver to India for conduct of nuclear commerce makes it possible for the two to sign a bilateral trade agreement in this area.
Describing the NSG waiver to India as a "historic achievement," French Minister of State for External Trade Anne Marie Idrac said in New Delhi that "it opens the way for signing of the bilateral agreement, which was concluded during visit of President Sarkozy in January."
Talking to reporters after the Indo-French Joint Committee meeting, Idrac said the French are discussing the dates for signing the bilateral deal with the Indian government, "hoping that the cooperation will begin as soon as possible".
Idrac said France wants to be a key partner for India in the area of nuclear energy. India's bilateral deal with the US, which helped New Delhi get a waiver from the nuclear cartel, is pending approval of the US Congress.
Attending the meeting, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said that with the NSG waiver, there are opportunities for nuclear trade with any country within the parameters of the nuclear cartel.
With France having the maximum number of reactors in the world, "India would be looking for best opportunities in any case," Nath said.
Nath said while it was premature to comment on opening up of the nuclear energy for the private and foreign firms, "I do not think it should be a problem".
Nath said the government was encouraging the private sector in the non-strategic areas.