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India has signed a deal to buy nuclear reactors off France, following talks between President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.|
The agreement was signed at a ceremony attended by the two leaders.
Mr Sarkozy is on a four-day official visit, joined by his defence, foreign and finance ministers and about 60 business leaders.
Under the civil nuclear deal, two French reactors worth £6.3bn ($10bn) are expected to be built at Jaitapur in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
Monday's agreement was signed by the heads of French state-controlled nuclear group Areva and India's Nuclear Power Corporation.
India has 22 nuclear reactors and is seeking to expand its energy sector, opening up a market estimated at £90bn over 15 years.
France, the world's second largest producer of nuclear energy after the US, hopes to lead an international revival of the industry, which is expected to benefit from worries about global warming and soaring energy prices.
Hungry for energy to fuel its booming economy, India has a population of 1.2 billion, but gets only a tiny fraction of its electricity from nuclear power.
Supporters of the deal say that having more nuclear plants in India could help reduce global demand for oil and gas while at the same time significantly reducing the country's pollution levels.
Among the business leaders in the French delegation are the heads of Dassault Aviation, the aircraft manufacturer, and EADS, the aerospace contractor.
Mr Sarkozy arrived in India on Saturday and toured a space research facility in Bangalore before making a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal - the monument of love in the town of Agra - with his wife, who is a singer and former model.
The couple then went sight-seeing at the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri near Agra on Sunday. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, asked for a son during a blessing at the world famous Izlamic shrine of Fatehpur Sikri.
Mr Sarkozy is also expected to visit Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, before returning home on Tuesday.
The visit is his first to a G20 state since France last month took the presidency of the group of developed and major developing economic powers.
Mr Sarkozy has backed India's bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council, and supported India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a gathering of countries that export civil nuclear technology.
US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have both visited India recently, as world powers look to the booming Asian giant for export opportunities.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are the next world leaders scheduled to sweep into Delhi in the weeks to come.
[ Last edited by manoj10 at 2010-12-6 03:21 PM ]