N-deals on cards as Modi set for maiden Europe Canada tour

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to leave for France on Thursday evening as a part of his three-nation tour wherein the Prime Minister aims to advance the purchase of massive nuclear reactors and fuel from France and Canada.

An official at state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) said the Prime Minister’s visit from April 9-11 was expected to add political heft to a project that under the last government became bogged down.

“Techno-commercial discussions have been going on for some time now, there is desire on the part of the new government to conclude the discussions,” the official said.

Modi has made nuclear power a key element of his clean energy strategy, and in January announced a “breakthrough” pact with US President Barack Obama to help clear a logjam of stalled projects.

India needs foreign nuclear technology and fuel to ramp up capacity by a planned 14 times from 4,560 megawatts over the next two decades.

Apart from France, Modi will also be visiting Germany and Canada. The Prime Minister also said that all the three nations are major economies and that they have great relevance to the development and growth of India. Many key civil and nuclear agreements are expected to be signed during this trip.

He also spoke on the recent row over his remark that five-star activists were driving the judiciary.

“I would not like to analyse the judiciary, the experts should look at it. There have been instances where the judiciary’s initiative has resulted in a good outcome and there have been instances when it has resulted in pain.”

Modi on April 5 had said the judiciary should have an internal mechanism of “self- assessment” and be “perfect” and also remain cautious against giving “perception-driven” verdicts since perceptions are often driven by “five-star activists”.

After Modi raised the issue of “self-assessment”, Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said the judiciary already has an in-house mechanism in place that is “effectively functioning”.

Addressing a joint conference of chief justices of High Courts and chief ministers, Modi had said that while the judiciary is getting powerful, it is necessary that it also becomes “perfect” to live up to the expectations of the people.

(With inputs from agencies)

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