Ottawa: India’s deal to buy uranium from Canadian producer Cameco Corp. will be unveiled on Wednesday as Ottawa hosts the first visit of a Prime Minister from the Asian country in a generation, a person with knowledge of the talks said.

The accord is scheduled to be announced in the morning, the person said, asking not to be named because the agreement isn’t public yet. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to be in the Canadian capital as part of a three-day visit.

Expectations that the deal championed by Modi may be signed has stirred wariness among Canadians. An Internet survey from the Angus Reid Institute published on Tuesday showed 60% of respondents oppose helping develop India’s nuclear energy industry.

Cameco, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has been in talks to sell uranium to India, and Modi has said a deal is one of the priorities of his Canadian trip. Rob Gereghty, a Cameco spokesman, declined to comment on a possible agreement.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is also travelling to Ottawa on Wednesday. “We’re very hopeful, I’ll say that," he said in an interview on Tuesday, while declining to say if an accord was reached.

Modi is due to arrive on Tuesday evening and meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and governor general David Johnston on Wednesday morning, according to an itinerary from the Indian government. Modi will go to Toronto on Wednesday evening, staying there until leaving for Vancouver on Thursday, the final stop of his three-day visit.

Pension funds

Modi is scheduled to meet with pension funds, business leaders and members of Canada’s Indian community during his trip, according to the itinerary.

Modi said last month on his Facebook page that he looked forward to “sourcing uranium fuel for our nuclear power plants" during his Canadian trip, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in over 40 years.

Harper’s office has said the countries intend to focus on boosting cooperation on economic issues, counter-terrorism and energy.

The two countries reached a nuclear cooperation agreement in 2012 that took effect the following year.

The accord allows trade in nuclear material, equipment and technology between the two countries, Stephen Lecce, a spokesman for Harper, said in an e-mail last week. “It is up to businesses to complete commercial contracts," he said.

Favourable view

The Angus Reid poll of 1,475 respondents showed 70% of Canadians have a favourable view of India, while 58% believe Harper should pursue a free-trade pact with the country.

The poll used responses from an online panel and has no formal margin of error, though Angus Reid estimated the comparative margin for a poll of this sample size would be within 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

More respondents favoured pursuing ties with China than with India, when asked to choose between the two countries. The poll also found 78% of Canadians, presented with a photo of Modi, were unable to identify him. Bloomberg

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