Canada Foreign Minister John Baird pitches nuclear energy co-operation with New Delhi

Canada Foreign Minister John Baird pitches nuclear energy co-operation with New Delhi

In his first visit to Mumbai as Canadian Foreign Minister,  John Baird said, “”Our government is pursuing the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our country’s history,” adding that Canada was aiming “to deepen trade and investment ties with large, dynamic and high-growth markets around the world”.

“Canada remains deeply committed to the negotiations toward the Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement, the administrative arrangements to the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement and the audiovisual co-production agreement.” he said. Baird then flew to New Delhi to meet his Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna and prepare for a November summit visit by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Harper visited India a couple of years ago.

Canada's John Baird meets Indian Home Minister SK Shinde
Canada's John Baird meets Indian Home Minister SK Shinde

A nuclear deal between Canada and India signed in 2010 is yet to be operationalized, waiting for a follow-up end-user agreement. After meeting Baird on Wednesday, Krishna said, “We also look forward to early completion of negotiations on Appropriate Arrangements for the bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed in 2010.”   Acknowledging that the agreement was “actively discussed”, Baird said, “We’re readying an end-user pact with India, same thing we have with 42 countries. We’re not asking for or imposing any additional obligations on India.”

What this means

In our view, not much. This talk is to give the impression of progress when in fact there is no progress.  India is sticklish about additional reviews by individual countries when it has already acceded to oversight by the International Atomic Energy Agency.  Real progress on this important but minor issue is best handled quietly until agreement is reached. Prime Minister Harper needs this issue sorted out  prior to landing in Delhi for his second trip.


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