Washington: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has emerged politically stronger after the passage of the Nuclear Liability Bill which will enable the US companies to compete with state-run European rivals for USD 100 billion Indian investment in nuclear power.
The passage of the bill has demonstrated Singh`s resolve to push the deal through ahead of US President Barack Obama`s visit to India later this year, US media said today.
Describing it as a personal victory for Singh, The Wall Street Journal said that the bill will pave the way for much needed foreign investment in India`s crucial nuclear
"If the bill is passed by the Upper House of Parliament as expected, it will start to open the door for overseas companies such as GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (formed
by Hitachi Ltd. and General Electric Co.), Westinghouse Electric Co. and Areva SA to sell reactor technology and fuel to India at a time when the country is fast increasing its
power-generation capacity to meet a huge gap in supply and demand," The Journal said.
The Lok Sabha yesterday passed the Civil Liability for the Nuclear Damages Bill after government dropped the contentious provision of "intent" in case of accidents, ending
months of wrangling between treasury benches and the Opposition.
"Passage of the nuclear bill was a personal victory for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who forged a deal in 2008 giving India access to international nuclear technology,
ending isolation imposed after it tested a nuclear weapon in the late 1990s," reported the Los Angeles Times.
"The Obama administration, having convinced many US allies that India was a reliable nuclear power that would not contribute to the proliferation of weapons, reportedly sought passage of the bill in advance of the president`s trip," the daily said.
"The passage by the Lok Sabha ahead of a scheduled November visit by President Obama is seen as a personal victory for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who signed the landmark civilian agreement with President (George W) Bush in 2008," said The Washington Times.
America`s General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric Corp are among the foreign energy suppliers that stand to gain a share of India`s civilian nuclear business,
estimated as possibly reaching USD 150 billion a year, it said.
"American companies consider a liability cap particularly important because, unlike the state-subsidized French and Russian nuclear suppliers, they are not underwritten by their government," it added.