$20-bn deals....

India and France on Monday unveiled plans for deals worth nearly $20 billion. The major agreements signed during Sarkozy’s visit include a pact between French energy major Areva and staterun NPCIL for the supply of two reactors and fuel for 25 years. The deal is worth €7 billion ($9.3 bn). Air India and Jet Airways signed agreements to lease aircraft from Airbus at an estimated cost of about $3.7 billion. French tyre company Michelin signed a deal to invest in a factory in Tamil Nadu. There are several large deals in the pipeline including plans to upgrade India's fleet of Mirage aircraft, jointly develop a fighter jet and surface-to-air missiles. Areva, which signed an agreement for the construction of two nuclear reactors and supply of fuel with NPCIL, is open to the idea of NPCIL investing in its mines, its CEO Anne Lauvergeon said. Areva owns uranium mines in Niger, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Mongolia, among others. Referring to the nuclear reactor pact, Lauvergeon said Areva would supply two nuclear reactors in the first phase and fuel for 25 years. There are six nuclear reactors, which will be set up by NPCIL at Jaitapur in Maharastra. The two companies are working on finalizing the financing for the project. The French company has assured supply of uranium for the lifetime of the reactors, which is 60 years. She said the Indian nuclear liability law won't be a dealbreaker but stability of regulation was a key factor.India's nuclear liability law imposes liability on both suppliers and operators of nuclear plants. This has worried foreign firms, who want to get a slice of the estimated $150 billion domestic nuclear energy market. Lauvergeon said Areva was trying to forge a partnership with the Indian industry and would like to work with Indian firms for the domestic market as well as for export of nuclear components, engineering capabilities. Areva has a joint venture with Bharat Forge and partnerships with Tatas and Larsen & Toubro.

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