Home Contact Us
Search :

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3293, 10 December 2010
Sarkozy’s India Visit: The Nuclear Dimension
Siddharth Ramana
Research Officer, IPCS
email: siddharth13@gmail.com

French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s official visit to India has generated a lot of buzz around the nuclear deals that have been signed. However, the visit is significant also for bolstering international efforts to bring India into the nuclear mainstream and discussed developments on the Iranian nuclear program, owing to ongoing European discussions with Tehran.

France has helped India in its nuclear growth by, for instance, offering to help India develop its breeder program in 1969, supplying nuclear fuel to the Tarapur I and II reactors (after the US reneged on its contractual obligation to supply uranium fuel for the Tarapur reactors), setting up a thorium extraction facility at Alwaye in Kerala, and a Heavy Water plant at Baroda in Gujarat.

While international compulsions forced France to halt its cooperation in the 1990s, it is noteworthy that France, along with Israel and Russia, were the only countries in the world which did not condemn India’s 1998 nuclear tests. Furthermore, French nuclear support to India was evident in its cooperation with India even before the Indo-US nuclear agreement of 2008.

France had declared that it would support India’s civilian nuclear program even before the Indo-US agreement was reached in 2005. It was the first country to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India following the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver which preceded the formal Indo-US agreement.

Also, the agreement with France not only assures fuel supply to India but also allows the reprocessing of spent fuel under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, while the Hyde Act, which governs the Indian nuclear cooperation with the United States does not allow cooperation for reprocessing.

India’s continued progress in the nuclear field and nuclear acquisitions have been decried by many nonproliferation pundits. The Indo-US nuclear deal was extremely divisive in the NSG, with NPT hardliner countries decrying the arm-twisting tactics adopted by the Americans. Therefore, there has been vocal criticism in the West over nuclear agreements made with India.

Support for a nuclear agreement with India is shared across the political spectrum in France with minimal fears about proliferation. This is made evident by the emphasis on France’s nuclear relationship with India by political rivals Jacques Chirac and Nicholas Sarkozy, post their ascension to power.

Sarkozy’s visit to India gains greater significance when the financial figures which the nuclear deal entails are studied. While bilateral trade between India and France stood at US$2.99 billion in 2006, the agreement between the French nuclear supplier company, Areva and the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India to establish two atomic power plants of 1,650MW capacity each in Maharashtra is estimated at around US$9.3 billion. With prospects of another four reactors in the offing, the financial implications are immense.

A key obstacle to the nuclear agreement was India’s recently approved Civil Nuclear Liability Act, which has caused concern among a number of countries over its compensation clauses in case of a nuclear accident. France has asked India to revisit the Act and conform to international standards so that their companies are not inhibited. It has signed an interim nuclear agreement pending further discussions on resolving the Act’s controversial provisions which would need to be amended before the agreement can be operationalized.   

For India, in addition to bolstering foreign investment in its nuclear energy sector, the French President’s visit is also important to boost India’s claim for inclusion into the NSG, which would hasten India’s acceptance into the list of accepted nuclear weapons states. India could also press for French support at the NSG since it could then gain access to the advanced enrichment and reprocessing technology that it covets.

Additionally, France has also been a supporter of India’s inclusion as a permanent member into the United Nations Security Council. President Sarkozy’s visit to India soon after President Barack Obama’s unprecedented support for India’s candidature to the UN Security Council would provide the country another opportunity to highlight the international support it has garnered from the international community.

Finally, Sarkozy’s visit adds another dimension to the international efforts against Iran’s illegal nuclear program. India has been urged by Western states to take a stronger stance against Iran, and India’s position becomes more important after being elected to be a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the next two years.

Sarkozy has maintained a strong position against Iran, and according to the Wikileak disclosures, a senior Sarkozy aide has termed Iran a “Fascist State”. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh delivered his first public rebuke of the Iranian nuclear program in a joint press briefing during his visit to Paris in October 2008. Sarkozy could be expected to continue to push India into taking a stronger position vis-à-vis Iran, especially in light of the failure of the Iran-EU talks scheduled for December 2010.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Stability in 2015
Sri Lanka: Making a Case for Change
Connecting Sri Lanka: Train to Jaffna
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Burying the Past: A New Beginning for Pakistan and Afghanistan
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Bangladesh: Diplomatic Manoeuvres at the UNGA
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
IPCS Forecast: East Asia in 2015
China-North Korea: Reasons for Reconciliation
Abe-Jinping Summit Meet: A Thaw in China-Japan Relations?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?
The Future of SAARC is Now

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ‘Look East’ to ‘Act East’
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
India’s Northeast: Need for a New Anti-Terror Policy
India-China: Securitising Water
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015
India and Maritime Security: Do More
Indian Ocean and the IORA: Search and Rescue Operations

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
IPCS Forecast: Left-wing Extremism in 2015
Maoist Attack on the CRPF: Time for New Counter-strategies
Naxal Violence: Challenges to Jharkhand Polls

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
18th SAARC Summit: An Economic Agenda
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security
Obama’s New Strategy towards the Islamic State: Implications for India

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
IPCS Forecast: West Asia in 2015
Rise of the Islamic State: Implications for the Arab World
Islamic State: The Efficacy of Counter-strategies
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
The Af-Pak Entity: Seduction to Armageddon?
Maritime Combat Power in the Indo-Pacific
Of Lawrence, Sykes-Picot and al-Baghdadi
Voice from America
Amit Gupta
Obama’s Rapprochement with Cuba
China's Global Ambition: Need to Emulate Germany
Mid-Term Elections: So What If the US Swings Hard Right?

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Nuclear Security Summit 2012: The Challenges Ahead

Debate: Is a Nuclear Iran good for India?

On Indo-African Nuclear Trade Facilitation

Does Myanmar have Nuclear Ambitions?

After Osama - IV: What are the Global Implications?

Revisiting the CTBT: the US' Conundrum

Sino-Pak Nuclear Engagement-IV: What Can India Do?

WikiWrecks: An Analysis of Terrorism Financing

The Role of Human Intelligence in Counter-Terrorism

Iran’s Role in the Taliban Negotiations: Q&A

Af-Pak: Iran’s Endgame

Iran-Turkey-Brazil Nuclear Agreement

Attacks in Lahore: Buildup to secession?

Nuclear Weapons Free Middle East: Utopia or Reality?

The Iranian Nuclear Conference

Nuclear Security Review: A Must for India

Airline Terror Plots: Lessons for India

China and Pakistan: Relationship in a Bottle

Need for an Indian Response in Somali Waters

Obama-mania: Iran is Not Invited

Nuclear Iran: Anathema for India

Pakistan: External Mis-dealings

Unending Drama in Pakistan

Q&A: Attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul

Q&A: Pakistan's Nuclear Bogeyman

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2015
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007
 2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999
 1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1900, Tel: 91-11-4100-1901, Tel/Fax: 91-11-4100-1902

© Copyright 2015, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com