With a few days left before the India-United States Strategic Dialogue kicks off in New Delhi, a top Indian official here said India had conveyed to the U.S its “concern” at the changes made to Nuclear Suppliers Group's guidelines for sale of Enrichment and Reprocessing technology.

While there is still an open question on whether the U.S.' subsequent reassurances that the “clean waiver” granted to India for ENR sales will supersede the wording of the new guidelines restrictive passed by the NSG, the Indian official nevertheless reiterated that ENR technology continued to be “an important issue for India.”

The official added that both in this context as well as regarding foreign partners in India's civilian nuclear energy programme India was not only holding discussions with the U.S., but also with Russia and France in parallel.

Confirming that the Indian nuclear operator, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited, and U.S. companies were nevertheless currently involved in detailed discussions on legal and design aspects of prospective joint nuclear projects, the official however expressed optimism that Strategic Dialogue would lead to progress on this front.

In particular the official noted that new regulations relating to the implementation of the nuclear liability bill would be finalised in the months ahead.

Official sources here also added that for the first time the India-U.S. discussions would directly focus upon West Asia, including a discussion of recent developments in West Asia.

Similarly while India's and the U.S.' engagements in East Asia and the United Nations have already been a subject of discussion even before U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi last year, that will again be an agenda item next week, an official added.

Mirroring the broad structure of the first round of the Dialogue that was held in Washington last summer, the second round will also consider the entire gamut of cooperative efforts in five key areas including defence and counter-terrorism cooperation; energy and climate; economics, trade and agriculture; science, technology, health and innovation; and education, development and empowerment.

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