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Updated: March 16, 2010 09:19 IST

No delay in implementation of nuke deal: Nirupama Rao

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Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that civil nuclear deal is “proceeding smoothly and satisfactorily” and the civil nuclear liability bill is likely to be introduced in the Parliament after the recess. File Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that civil nuclear deal is “proceeding smoothly and satisfactorily” and the civil nuclear liability bill is likely to be introduced in the Parliament after the recess. File Photo: S. Subramanium

Implementation of the civil nuclear deal is “proceeding smoothly and satisfactorily” and the civil nuclear liability bill is likely to be introduced in the Parliament after the recess, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on Tuesday.

“As far as introduction of the civil nuclear liability bill in the Parliament is concerned, it is ready for introduction, and in all likelihood it would be introduced after the recess,” Ms. Rao said in response to a question at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, a Washington-based think-tank.

Major definitive milestone

Terming conclusion of the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008 as “a major definitive milestone in Indo-US relationship”, she said “we are in the process of operationalising the Agreement through close coordination between our two Governments.”

Referring to Joint Statement issued during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US in November last, Ms. Rao said, “the two leaders reiterated their intention to realise the full potential of the India-US Agreement for Cooperation concerning the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy through the implementation of its provisions.”

“They agreed to expedite US firms’ participation in the implementation of this agreement,” she said.

Earlier, while addressing the seventh High Technology Cooperation Group, Ms. Rao said, implementation of India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement and the India US Bilateral Investment Treaty, presently under discussion, as also the defence procurement programme, are opportunities for a win-win situation for both the countries.

“Once the 123-Agreement is implemented, a structured bilateral interaction with the industry on both sides could take forward the process.

“In the meanwhile, there is already a steady and direct interaction between US nuclear industry and NPCIL. Two MoUs have already been signed with GE Hitachi and Westinghouse,” she said.

Later at the Woodrow Wilson Centre, Ms. Rao said India agrees with the vision of a nuclear weapon free world outlined by US President Barack Obama in April last.

Specific proposals

In 2006, India presented specific proposals in the UN General Assembly as possible building blocks of a new global, verifiable nuclear disarmament framework.

These include: a global agreement on “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states; measures to reduce nuclear danger through de-alerting, reducing salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and preventing unintentional or accidental use; a Nuclear Weapons Convention prohibiting development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their destruction etc.

“Presently, we wish to see the emergence of a consensus in the Conference on Disarmament on issues that the international community considers essential, including negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty,” Ms. Rao said, adding India was committed to global efforts for preventing the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction.

“We have a law-based system of export controls that has stood the test of time. We have updated it in accordance with international best practices. Our lists and guidelines are harmonized with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime even though we are not as yet members of these regimes,” Ms. Rao said.

Driven by common concerns about the security of nuclear assets -- particularly in the backdrop of the increasing threat of terrorist access to them, India and the US are partners in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

Nuclear Security Summit

“Next month, Prime Minister Singh would participate in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama. We believe that the Summit can be milestone in addressing the threat of nuclear terrorism. We also hope that India and the US can find other opportunities to work for the safe, secure and proliferation resistant expansion of nuclear energy around the world,” Ms. Rao said.

Nirupama Rao to meet Clinton, NSA

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is set to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor James Jones, signifying importance attach by the Obama Administration to ties with India.

Ms. Rao, who is currently on a six-day trip to the US, would also be meeting her American counterpart Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns. Besides, Washington she would be visiting New York.

Her meetings are likely to cover a host of bilateral and regional issues ahead of US President Barack Obama visit to India later this year.

“The next phase of Indo-US strategic dialogue, scheduled here sometime in late spring or early spring, are expected to figure in her meeting with Clinton and Burns,” a State Department official said.

The issues of Afghanistan, Pakistan, non-proliferation and export controls are likely to discussed during her meeting with the NSA, a senior Obama administration official said.

Last week, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake had said, in an interview, that both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believe that Indo-US relationship is going to be one of the most consequential of the US foreign policy in the 21st century.

Yes, the opposition is doing great job. I do not think it's right to privatize the profit and socialize the risk. India has already signed nuclear deals with Russia and France so why bother about American companies. If they want the pie they should drop the demand of having a cap on liabilities.

from:  chad
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010 at 07:23 IST

The liability amount is so minuscule that it is even less than the salary and bonus drawn by the CEOs of American companies.

from:  asha
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010 at 06:21 IST

The Indian Govt. is risking sovereignty, taxpayers' hard earned money and even Indians' life just for its reputation. It's a conspiracy by the Govt. It has forgotten to secure the interests and safety of Indians. Mindlessly running behind atomic energy.

from:  lohith
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010 at 05:00 IST

This is the first step. The Opposition should not allow this Bill in this term of the Parliament. That is possible only if the ruling bloc can be kept divided. The Congress plan to split other parties with the Women's Reservation Bill has now wrecked its own capacity to act. Cheers!

from:  D. Mukherjee
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010 at 02:46 IST

The nation thanks the opposition MPs for stopping this anti-people and anti-national bill. The government should learn to put the interests of the Indian citizens ahead of their corporate masters' business concerns and profits. Otherwise, this kind of embarassment (deferring the bill at the last minute) will and should continue. Shame on you, UPA government!

from:  S. P. Udayakumar
Posted on: Mar 16, 2010 at 01:08 IST

Though the Government went all the way to push the nuclear deal through, they failed to cover up for this eventuality. Good to know the opposition parties are up to some good.

from:  Sudeep Nettur
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 23:03 IST

As reported in the newspapers the bill harmful to the country and can't be supported. It appears to be a surrender to the US businesses, against Indian national interests. Manmohan Singh has not done any thing to clear the doubts. It is silent, which supports the concerns of the Opposition. Hence the opposition is justified. However the Govt. should first clear the doubts.

from:  R.K.Murarka
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 20:35 IST

When thiis country has vast potential to develop energy from conventional and nonconventional sources, resorting to the nuclear power through the US vendors at our own peril is an abject surrender of the State; it is condemnable. Thanks to The Hindu for higlighting the issue, please keep the flame of public opinion alive.

from:  Dr. M. Ramakrishna Reddy
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 19:49 IST

Its a national shame to introduce a bill with such low compensation cap. Can the government show any country having such low compensation cap?

from:  Sabari
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 19:46 IST

The US Ambassodor urged parliament on TV today to pass the Nuclear Liability Bill adding that it is necessary for the nuclear deal to be operational. Now the government cannot deny US pressure in the matter. The Indian media which supported the government to the hilt on the nuclear deal has mercifully kept away from such blind support in the matter of the liability bill. That and the opposition both from the BJP and the Left have given the government cold feet. It remains to be seen where it will go from here. The government which in reality is a minority government with outside support ought to realise that even a government with a large majority in parliament has to build national consensus on vital issues.The Congress-led government however thinks that it knows best what is good for the country. If the opposition unites, it can bring the government down to earth.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 19:40 IST

It is really a good thing for India that opposition is doing its work instead of interrupting.

from:  vijay singh
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 19:23 IST

it is great victory for opposition parties

from:  K. Balakrishnan
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 18:15 IST

This apparently is due to the hidden agenda behind the India -US Nuclear Agreement.Since a number of Nuclear plants in the US have failed and caused damage,the US wants to play safe. We can not allow our citizens to be limited by such laws and we need not buy nuclear plants from USA if they try to safeguard their liability when their badly designed plants fail.

from:  S N IYER
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 17:36 IST

Govt. should patiently negoiate with USA pointing out how it infringes our sovereignty and then take opposition into confidence and not bulldoze this measure.

from:  V.jagannathan
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 17:17 IST

Prime Minister of India is liable to the people of India. He must give a public speech regarding the bill and clear all the points.

from:  Rahul Soni
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 17:07 IST

This is great news that the opposition is doing something about this senseless bill. I do hope that this bill gets scrapped as it will only do harm to our nation and our people.

from:  Johny Daniel
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010 at 13:15 IST
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