‘Little progress on Indo-US nuclear deal’

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 10:12

Washington: Accusing Obama administration of
doing little to implement the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, a
top Republican Senator has said the nuclear liability bill is
"fundamentally inconsistent" with the liability regime that
the international community is seeking to achieve.

"This agreement remains important to the broad strategic
advancement of the US-Indian relationship. But in the narrower
context of nuclear trade with India, it has yet to bear
significant fruit," Senator Richard Lugar said at the
confirmation hearing of US Ambassador-designate to India,
Nancy Powell on Tuesday.

"In large measure, this stems from the Indian Parliament`s
adoption of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill," he
said.

Noting that in 2008, the US concluded the civil nuclear
cooperation agreement with India, Lugar, who played a key role
in its Congressional passage, said the legislation lifted a
three-decade American moratorium on nuclear trade with India
and opened the door for trade in a wide range of other
high-technology items, such as supercomputers and fibre optics.

"This legislation effectively rules out Indian accession
to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear
Damage (the CSC) and could frustrate the US nuclear industry`s
efforts to play a role in India`s expanding nuclear power
sector," Lugar said.

"The bill`s plain terms are fundamentally inconsistent
with the liability regime that the international community is
seeking to achieve in the CSC. To date, this Administration
has made very little progress on the CSC with India," the US
Senator said.

In response, Powell said that she is eager to support
efforts to ensure full implementation of the Civil Nuclear
Cooperation Agreement, including ensuring a level playing
field for American companies in the commercial applications of
nuclear energy.

A day earlier, the visiting Foreign Secretary, Ranjan
Mathai, said that India will ensure a level playing field for
US companies in the country`s nuclear energy sector.

Mathai added that the two countries has remained engaged
and must now take practical steps to advance this cooperation,
as they have done over the past year.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 10:12

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