BANGALORE: (AMN) France has backed India’s bid for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council. It has also supported India’s civil nuclear programme.

Addressing the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here, the visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that it was unthinkable to keep a country of over one billion out of the UN Security Council. He also said that France fully backed India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group- NSG and there was a need to put an end to nuclear isolation of India. He felt it was injustice done to India by challenging its right to access to civil nuclear energy and France will support India’s application for candidacy of NSG.  He however said, there was certain inconsistency in India’s approach as it wanted development of clean energy on one hand, while restricting access to its facilities.

He expressed happiness that over French company Areva setting up nuclear plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra that would produce 10,000 MW of non-polluting energy. Condemning the 26/11 attacks, he said, any such strike on India is an attack on democracy and all democracies stand by India. On France’s relationship with India, Sarkozy said that his country has been a good friend of India and said it should go further. He hoped that interaction between Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs of the two countries will increase.

French President profusely praised India, its founding fathers, its Prime Minister and its people. He emphasised on increased scale of cooperation in areas of space technology, nuclear science and education between the two countries. He paid rich tribute to Indian Scientists, engineers and research scholars and appreciated joint efforts of both the countries in the area of space science. He fondly mentioned about ISRO’s collaboration with CNES of France in developing two satellites for studying weather and climatic conditions. One of them is Megha- Tropiques. This is expected to be launched by 2011 to study tropical climate. Another ISRO-CNES mission to be launched next year is SARAL, a Satellite for seasonal forecasting, oceanography and climate studies. Meanwhile, Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni made an unscheduled visit to the Taj Mahal. They flew from Bangalore to Agra.