India and the U.S. extended their talks in London by a day on Thursday to iron out the kinks in the way of operationalising the landmark civil nuclear deal with officials making all efforts to stitch a “concrete” outcome during President Barack Obama’s visit, starting in three days.
The talks of the Indo-U.S. Contact Group on nuclear cooperation, which started on Wednesday, centred on the ticklish liability issue which has stalled the implementation of the agreements inked in 2005 between the then U.S. President George Bush and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The Indian liability law holds the suppliers directly liable in case of a nuclear accident while countries like France and the U.S. have asked India to follow global norms under which the primary liability is with the operator.
Since all the nuclear power plants in the country are run by the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL), following international norms will mean the government would have to pay for the damages in case of an accident.
Another contentious clause in the liability law was unlimited liability for which international companies will find it difficult to get insurers.
The day-long talks have been extended by another day, officials here said.
The talks in London followed the second round in Vienna earlier this month and sources here indicated that there was “forward movement” in the last two rounds and the officials would build on that to achieve something “concrete“.
The first meeting of the Contact Group had taken place here in December last.