U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday raised India's civil nuclear liability issue with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna at a meeting to do the groundwork for President Barack Obama's visit to India in November.
“The issue was raised with Minister Krishna today [Monday], and he explained the processes that the bill [the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill] had gone through,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, who was present at the 30-minute meeting, told journalists.
The bill, which was passed recently by Parliament and which is critical to the full implementation of the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal, has been troubling several American industrialists as it makes equipment suppliers liable in the event of a nuclear accident.
“And the fact that we were ready to engage with U.S. companies on the questions they had raised to be able to clear their doubts and clarify the issues they wanted to discuss with us,” Ms. Rao said.
Ms. Clinton and Mr. Krishna met at Waldorf Astoria on the sidelines of the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, which began last week.
Ms. Rao, who had discussed the nuclear liability issue with Ms. Clinton last week in Washington, said: “The U.S. administration understands the process. Secretary Clinton spoke of their own processes…and their often contentious nature of democracy which is a fact that we all appreciate.”
Assistant Secretary Robert Blake said liability issues were an “important priority” for the U.S. “We've taken note of some of the concerns industry representatives have raised about some of the provisions of the liability bill, and the bill may possibly be inconsistent with international standards.”