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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:17, April 24, 2006
Merkel sidesteps India's nuclear pact with U.S.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel sidestepped on Sunday India's nuclear energy pact with the United States, which she has criticized, and focused on cooperation when meeting visiting Indian Premier Manmohan Singh.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Hanover, Merkel said that her government would follow closely the international evaluation of the pact, including the deliberations in the U.S. congress and the International Atomic Energy (IAEA).

India and the United States signed the deal when President George W. Bush visited India in early March, allowing the country to buy nuclear fuel, parts and equipment from the United States.

Germany is afraid the U.S.-India deal will encourage Iran to continue with its own uranium enrichment program.

"India has an impeccable record when it comes to nuclear proliferation. We are a responsible nuclear power," Singh told reporters.

Merkel stepped back from earlier criticism. "I am under the impression that we are on a positive path," she said.

Singh was greeted with full military honors in Hanover earlier Sunday and joined Merkel to officially open this year's Hanover Trade Fair.

Both Merkel and Singh expressed their hope for more cooperation.

"The rapid growth of the Indian economy offers significant opportunities to both sides to transform our economic ties," Singh said.

"We want to build on our mutual cooperation," Merkel said.

In 2004, Indo-German Trade crossed the 6 billion-euro (about 7. 2 billion U.S. dollars) mark for the first time in history. Indian imports from Germany grew almost 35 percent, while exports to the country grew 11 percent.

Source: Xinhua

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