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Civil nuclear deal with US done

In what Obama called a "breakthrough", the two sides have resolved key hurdles pertaining to the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and the tracking of fuel supplied by the US and other countries for its proposed nuclear plants.

"We have broken the logjam of the past few years. We have reached an agreement. The deal is done," Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh announced after extended discussions between Obama and Modi lasting more than three hours.

Touching on regional cooperation, Modi said the two countries renewed their commitment to deepen cooperation to advance peace, stability, prosperity in Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean region which is critical for the future of the two countries and the world.

The two leaders said they have decided to scale up their economic relationship including holding talks in future on a bilateral investment treaty.

Modi said India and the US will also restart discussions on a social security agreement which is important for the hundreds of thousands of Indian professionals working in the US.

Obama said in the last few years there has been a 60 per cent increase in the bilateral trade and wanted the trade level to reach USD 100 billion which he hoped could be achieved with Modi government's commitment to liberalise ease of doing business.

The Foreign Secretary said that assurances are given to the US side on both the liability clause and tracking issues.

"The liability provisions and administrative arrangements finalised under 123 act (tracking) are consistent with our bilateral legal arrangements and contracts and IAEA safeguards and international laws and obligations," Singh said.

"The civil nuclear agreement was the centrepiece of our transformed relationship, which demonstrated new trust. It also created new economic opportunities and expanded our option for clean energy.

"In the course of the past four months, we have worked with a sense of purpose to move it forward. I am pleased that six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving towards commercial cooperation, consistent with our law, our international legal obligations, and technical and commercial viability," Modi said.

On defence and security, she said both the countries have agreed on four projects under the Defence Technology Transfer Initiative (DTTI) including exploration of development of advanced jets in India.

"What we have done is to operationalise an initiative and identified projects," Indian Ambassador to the US Jaishankar said.

The deal on nuclear cooperation and other areas was clinched between Modi and Obama after discussions spread over three hours at the delegation level as well as one-on-one talks besides a tete-a-tete on the lawns of the Hyderabad House reflecting the warm personal chemistry between the two leaders.

At the outset, both the leaders said they were committed to deepening relations between the two countries and the fact that Obama is the first US President to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations and also the first to visit India twice were signs of the growing relations.
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