The United Kingdom is to follow in the footsteps of Russia, the USA and France as it looks to allow the export of civil nuclear technology to India. Business secretary Vince Cable announced the plans while on a visit to technology-hub Bangalore with a governmental delegation led by UK prime minister David Cameron.
“This is the first significant business delegation the new Government has sent overseas. That’s a reflection of the importance we place on India as an economic partner,” Cable said.
Cable said UK firms could potentially do a large amount of business in India.
"There are obvious security sensitivities. We are conscious of those, as are the Indians, but within those constraints we really want to push ahead with civil nuclear co-operation.”
"That would be quite a big sector within which we could really make progress," he added.
In October 2009 the Confederation of Indian Industry claimed that a similar trade detail with the USA could lead to $27 billion investment in 18 to 20 nuclear plants in India over 15 years.
It is thought that British companies would now need to be granted export licences before they can trade with India. Rolls Royce and Serco have been named as interested parties.
The annoucement represents a turnaround in previous UK policy. The last Labour government blocked the export of nuclear technology on the grounds that India had refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.. However, the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group has granted India a “clean and unconditional waiver” to trade in nuclear material and technology, despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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