India, Sri Lanka launch nuclear deal talks

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 14:30 hrs

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) In an important step, India and Sri Lanka Friday launched talks aimed at sealing a bilateral civil nuclear pact that will encompass peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including atomic medicine, research and training.

The Indian delegation was led by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, joint secretary in external affairs ministry and included representatives from the department of atomic energy.

The Sri Lankan delegation, led by I. Ansar, additional secretary in the ministry of external affairs, included representatives from the Atomic Energy Authority and the ministry of power and energy.

"It was agreed that the two sides would work towards a comprehensive agreement on bilateral civil nuclear cooperation," said a joint statement here after the talks.

"Discussions included, inter alia, training of officials, nuclear safety and response to nuclear accidents," said the statement.

"Both sides exchanged views on all aspects of civil nuclear cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the uses of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to mutual benefit of the people of the two countries."

The next meeting would be held in Sri Lanka in the first half of 2013.

This is the first time India has launched civil nuclear negotiations with a neighbouring country.

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