Harper confident of Indo-Canadian civil nuclear deal in coming weeks

New Delhi: Stressing that prejudices of the past would not be allowed to get into the way of an Indo-Canadian nuclear deal, Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has said that such a deal ought to become a reality over the coming few weeks. In making this assertion, Harper also clarified that Canada had no issues about the safety of nuclear installations in India, notwithstanding the hullabaloo created by political parties in the opposition back home.

"We were anxious to conclude the agreement. But there is still some amount of work to be done," Harper said on a television interview.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper, in New DelhiQueried if there were any problems on reaching an agreement Harper said, "I don't think that there is anything that can't be resolved. In fact, I and prime minister Singh agreed to take a close examination over the next few weeks of what the remaining hurdles are and how that can be resolved." An Indo-Canadian nuclear deal was widely anticipated to materialise in the course of his trip.

"It is a very high priority for the government to get this done and the same thing is true on the Indian side," he added.

Referring to concerns being voiced back home over any such deal, Harper rejected the objections as being a "throwback to 1970s."

This was a reference to his country's decision to snap nuclear ties with India after the original 1974 Pokhran tests, once it became clear that India may have used fissionable material produced from Canadian-designed reactors.