Can-India Nuclear Trade Agreement

With the American economy still struggling, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been trying to move Canada away from its dependency on the U.S. for trade. In this endeavour the Prime Minister has been looking to emerging economies like Brazil and India to create new trade deals and stability for the Canadian economy.
This was the reason behind Harper’s recent six day visit to India. Harper was hoping to convince New Delhi that they should devote more time and effort to the expansion of trade between our two countries.
A step in that direction was accomplished on Nov. 6 when Canada and India announced that they had cleared the diplomatic barrier that had prevented Canadian companies from selling nuclear material and technology to the emerging South Asian economy.
Canada had ended all nuclear trade with India in 1976 when plutonium from a Canadian-donated test reactor was used to test India’s first nuclear bomb. The serious breach of trust and global security heavily dented relations between the two countries. Decades later the incident has not been forgotten and Canada has insisted that if nuclear trade was to resume, it would require strict measures to make sure the nuclear material was used for its intended purpose this time around.
In 2010, an agreement was almost reached, but India refused to submit to reporting its nuclear activities to Canada. New Delhi already reports its activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and did not want to report to Ottawa as well.
Two years later that hurdle has been cleared. Harper has backed down from this original stance and has been satisfied with the IAEA doing all the monitoring on Canada’s behalf. Harper had little to say regarding when Nuclear Trade with India was expected to resume or how this deal satisfied Canada’s original concerns.
“We’ve worked very closely with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to confirm they achieved all of our objectives in terms of non-proliferation,” Harper told reporters.
The spokesman for the commission said the two countries have agreed that “uranium will only be going to those [nuclear] facilities inspected by the IAEA,” and added that the agency has provided assurances against misuse.
Although it may seem as a concession, the deal shows that Canada no longer considers India a serious nuclear threat and has begun to trust them again. We can only hope that this time they will not abuse this trust as they did in the 1970s.
The deal was not just about mending old political ties with India, however.
“It is expected to generate millions of dollars in new business contracts between our countries, and to create high-quality jobs here at home,” said Harper.

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