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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

INDO-US TALKS: U.S. wants IAEA to vet Indian liability law!

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SANDEEP DIKSHIT / The Hindu / NEW DELHI, July 19, 2011.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just before the joint press conference with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna (not seen) in New Delhi, on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just before the joint press conference with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna (not seen) in New Delhi, on Tuesday - AP.

Adding a new element to the ongoing Indo-U.S. nuclear saga, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday “encouraged” New Delhi to “engage” with the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that the Indian nuclear liability law “fully conforms” with the international Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage.
Indian officials told The Hindu that any suggestion that Indian law would have to be adjusted on the basis of the IAEA's opinions was not acceptable. The Agency was only the depository of the CSC — essentially a clearing house for countries filing their ratification of the treaty — and can have no role in vetting a sovereign law.
New Delhi considers the Indian liability law to be in conformity with the CSC and is committed to ratifying the Convention before the year is out.
The U.S., on the other hand, thinks Section 17(b) of the Indian law, which expands the scope of the operator's right to compensation from nuclear suppliers in case of an accident due to faulty equipment, violates the CSC. U.S. companies have also opposed Section 46 of the Indian law, which implicitly allows accident victims to file tort claims.
Indian officials maintain the CSC cannot proscribe the operation of ordinary tort law in India and that the only forum which can pronounce the Indian law incompatible with the CSC is the Indian Supreme Court and not the IAEA.
Despite this tough public message, Ms. Clinton acknowledged the fact that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan had reduced India's room for manouevre on the liability front, senior Indian officials who were familiar with the delegation-level talks told The Hindu.
However, with U.S. nuclear firms wary of entering India because of the tough liability law, Ms. Clinton said she expected the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal to be “enforceable and actionable in all regards.”
Divergent views
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Clean waiver
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01) I have been predicting that her visit is essentially to do with "Clean Waiver" for the U.S. Nuclear Suppliers of any liability for failure of Technology, Equipment & Supplies, so that they can get away with in case of any future Fukushima kind of disasters like they did with Bhopal Gas Tragedy!


02) While of on it, she would talk of Pakistan, Cross-Border Terrorism and all by way of diplomatic pleasantries.


03) Indian Administration needs to understand that US will not clean garbage on Indian soil, even if it was dumped by somebody else, we need to do it ourselves!


04) And, finally, we should protect our citizens' safety at all costs and not protect some irresponsible Nuclear Suppliers for U.S.!


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