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Czech for closer ties with India in nuclear power sector

New Delhi: Czech Republic, the second biggest exporter of nuclear energy to European countries, is keen on having a "very close cooperation" with India in the nuclear power sector.

Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India Miloslav Stasek said there was a "positive move" in this direction from Czech nuclear firms and the government, which are ready to start supply of parts required for Indian nuclear firms.

Noting that nuclear energy is playing a very important role in the Czech Republic, he said his country was looking forward to a close cooperation with India in this sector. "Of course, we would like to have a very close cooperation with India in nuclear power sector," he told PTI on the sidelines of a function here.

Stasek said an agreement on nuclear cooperation signed between India and erstwhile Czechoslovakia, which later split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1967 is "still valid".

He said the Czech Republic`s special envoy for Nuclear Energy visited India thrice and there was a "high profile visit" from India to his country. "That means there is a regular traffic of high-level visits between both of us. We are trying to focus on the cooperation and to do some joint project in this field," Stasek said.

On last year`s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and its impact on the Indian nuclear energy sector, he said India has learnt a lot from the incident. Stasek also said the Fukushima incident did not change the views of the people of his country and the government on having nuclear plants as both "understand that nuclear is the cheapest source of energy" for them as Czech Republic does not have gas or oil resources.

According to him, the situation in Czech Republic is a "little bit different" from India as the people of his country prefer to live close to nuclear power stations because of the social security benefits being provided to them by the government.

On the defence cooperation front, Stasek said his country wanted to do some joint ventures with India on new technologies of radars, aircraft and laser systems and military education. He said India has decided to send a batch of students to the military academy of Czech Republic and close cooperation between India and his country is possible in other important areas of defence as well.

Commenting on the trade relations between India and Czech Republic, Stasek said trade exchange between the two countries is growing gradually, with trade volume reaching USD 1.6 billion last year. "This year, we are trying to reach USD 2 billion," he said.

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