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Friday, July 22, 2011

INDO-US NUCLEAR COOPERATION: “Government cannot tinker with Liability Law”!

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SANDEEP DIKSHIT / The Hindu / NEW DELHI, July 22, 2011.

India feels the civil nuclear logjam with the United States is out of the political realm because it will be difficult for the government to substantially tinker with its Liability Law despite suggestions to this effect by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a press conference here on Tuesday.
Ms. Clinton raised hackles here when she suggested that India get its Liability Law vetted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so that it “fully conforms” to the international Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage.
Washington feels that two provisions in the Indian law have prevented two U.S. companies — GE and Westinghouse — from opening talks on setting up six civil nuclear plants each. The potential business opportunity is estimated at over $ 50 billion, the highest-ever for the two companies outside their home country.
“We have to find a fix. But we had a problem with her message,” said officials. Ms. Clinton had suggested India approach the IAEA to establish whether its Liability Law was in harmony with the CSC. “This is because the Americans were 100 per cent sure that the IAEA would suggest changes,” they added.
Pointing out that the current political climate would not allow the government to change a law passed recently by Parliament after a great deal of acrimony, the officials felt the only way to reconcile differences was through commercial talks between the companies and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, which would run the plants.
“Commercial talks ought to ensure the terms and conditions are such that they don't become uncompetitive. Since this is not a non-proliferation concern, governments could stay out of it,” they suggested.
On India's membership of four export control bodies, informed sources maintained that the focus should remain on the Nuclear Suppliers' Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The so called Indo-US Strategic Talks are nothing but the US Business Promotion with India and India need not do anything to compromise the rights of its citizens!

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