NEW DELHI - Canada and India on Tuesday clinched a deal opening the door to Canadian shipments of uranium and other nuclear supplies to the energy-hungry South Asian nation for the first time in nearly four decades.

The agreement during a six-day official visit by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper came after negotiators from both countries ironed out a deadlock over monitoring Canadian exports of nuclear materials and technology to India.

“The conclusion of the administrative arrangement with India will facilitate opportunities for Canadian companies to play a greater role in meeting India’s growing energy needs,” Harper said in a statement. The announcement ends close to 40 years of awkward relations after India used Canadian technology to build its first nuclear bomb.

Harper and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed two years ago in Toronto on a nuclear cooperation deal that was supposed to pave the way for exports of Canadian uranium and reactors to India.

But the two sides were at odds over how India’s use of uranium could be scrutinised to ensure that it was put to peaceful purposes with India balking at Ottawa’s demand to be allowed to monitor the use of its nuclear material.

New Delhi already reports to the International Atomic Energy Agency and said its actions should not have to be vetted by Canada as well.

Now the two sides will set up a joint panel to supervise the exports.

Singh and Harper said in a late evening joint statement that they looked forward “to the inaugural meeting of the joint committee created under the agreement”.

New Delhi - backed by the United States - won an exemption in 2008 from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs global nuclear trade, to allow it to buy reactors and fuel from overseas.

India, which has tense relations with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan, had been subject to a global nuclear embargo since 1974 when it first staged an atomic weapons test.

The two leaders said in the joint statement that “Canada with its large and high quality reserves of uranium could become an important supplier to the Indian nuclear power programme”.