'US to ensure N-liability doesn't become irritant'
Washington: The US would make sure that
the issue of nuclear liability does not become an irritant in
its relationship with India, a top State Department official
"It is not yet an irritant, but we want to make sure
that it doesn't become an irritant. We're getting now to the
end game in this whole process," Assistant Secretary of State
for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters at a
news conference held yesterday at the Foreign Press Center.
He said that India was committed to bringing its
liability regime into conformance with the Convention on
"India is committed now to ratify the CSC by the end
of the year, and it's also committed to bringing its liability
regime into conformance with the CSC. So how it does that is
very, very important," he said.
"We want to be sure that having expended so much of
our own political capital in getting the civil nuclear deal
through beginning in 2005 and getting our own 123 agreement
approved by our Congress and then by the entire NSG.
"....We want to be sure that our companies are going
to benefit from this and that Indian companies are going to
benefit from this. Indian companies themselves have a lot of
concerns now about the liability regime." Blake said.
During her recent trip to India, the Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton underlined the importance of US
companies working closely together, and also, working closely
with the IAEA to make sure that whatever measures India takes
to bring its liability regime into conformance, are really
going to have the support of the IAEA and the guidance
of the IAEA, he said.
Blake said, Clinton during her India trip stressed
the importance of completing the civil nuclear deal and
resolving the remaining issues so that the US and Indian
companies can reap the benefits from the enormous efforts that
they have expended on getting civil nuclear cooperation to
"The Secretary reaffirmed our interest in seeing
India ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, and
we have every indication that India intends to do so. She also
urged India to engage with the International Atomic Energy
Agency, the IAEA, to ensure that India's nuclear liability
regime is conforming fully with the CSC. That will be a
continuing subject of conversation in the next several
months," Blake said.