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It's up to private firms to take N-deal forward now: US envoy

The US on Tuesday said the onus of leveraging on the civil nuclear deal with India, that figured prominently during President Barack Obama's visit last month, now lies with private companies and promised all necessary help to them from both Governments.



Mumbai: The US on Tuesday said the onus of leveraging on the civil nuclear deal with India, that figured prominently during President Barack Obama's visit last month, now lies with private companies and promised all necessary help to them from both Governments.

"Private companies have to now assess the assurances given to make sure that they are comfortable with the legal environment and the commitment to international practices," newly-appointed US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said while speaking at an event here late this evening.

He said the Governments of both countries will help the companies looking to leverage on the possibilities thrown open by the agreement sealed during Obama's visit to India last month that paved the way for operationalisation of the historic civil nuclear agreement signed nearly a decade ago.

Verma said the contact group on nuclear partnership, established after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Washington last September, which ironed out the differences to arrive at the consensus during Obama's visit, will help the companies in these efforts.

"We are going to continue to have those discussions with the companies, and the contact group will continue to meet. It isn't over with the president's visit," he said, adding the US will work "very hard" at operationalising this.

Addressing the event organised by Asia Society, Verma said it is in both countries' interests to "make sure the legal environment created is acceptable to the companies."

New Delhi had come out with a detailed answers on the deal last Sunday, making it clear that foreign suppliers of nuclear reactors cannot be sued by the victims in case of a mishap, but operators can. Following this, Washington had said it was hopeful of investing in civil nuclear projects in India, an energy-starved country.

Verma, who has been in New Delhi for only six weeks, said he would like to leave behind a legacy where the US turns into India's "best partner" from the current one where both sides see each other as "natural partners".

He said there is a strong bi-partisan support in Washington for the Indo-American relationship and a transition in power (in the US) two years from now will not impact it.

On Obama's controversial speech at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium, where he flagged the issue of religious intolerance here, the envoy pointed out that the President also illustrated the problems he faced back home.

The "powerful" words were a "conversation between two friends" and very a honest one, he added.

From Zee News

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