India and Canada on Saturday concluded negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian
counterpart Stephen Harper describing the development as a "milestone" opening up "tremendous opportunity" for the two countries.
The negotiations were firmed up at a meeting between Singh and Harper in Port of Spain on the sidelines of Commonwealth Summit.
Canada, which is the world's largest producer of uranium, has become the eighth country with which India has reached civil nuclear agreement since the NSG lifted a 34-year-old ban on India to join global nuclear trade in September last year.
The other countries with which India has already signed the civil nuclear deal are the US, France, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Namibia.
The Canadian Prime Minister was in New Delhi on November 17 when the two countries had announced that they are working to complete the civil nuclear deal.
Singh said "the civil nuclear agreement is a very important step forward, a milestone for the development of our relationship."
Pointing out that the civil nuclear agreement with Canada was hanging fire for sometime, he said Harper "proved to be absolutely true to his words" as he had said the negotiations should be complete in a short period of eight to ten days.
"I thank the Prime Minister (Harper) from the core of my heart for having expedited this process beyond my expectations. It augurs extremely well for the development of our relation," Singh said.
Harper pointed out he had discussed the civil nuclear agreement issue with Singh when he was in Delhi earlier this month.
"Prime minister and I agreed that it should be brought to a conclusion very rapidly," he said.
Singh said "we have discussed ways and means of expanding the content of our relationship, to widen it and to deepen it in every possible way."
He said "India's needs for nuclear energy are enormous and we need a lot more energy to make our development process a success."
Harper said "increased collaboration with India's civil nuclear energy market will allow Canadian companies to benefit from greater access to one of the world's largest and fastest expanding economies".
"We have now got an agreement which means this is a tremendous opportunity for both countries," he said.
The agreement will allow Canadian firms to export and import controlled nuclear materials, equipments and technology to and from India, a statement issued by Harper's office said.
"We will be seeking a little bit of time to complete the normal legal text and the ratification process. But this is a tremendous economies step forward and tremendous step forward in our relationship," Harper said. PTI