N- suppliers breathe easy as BJP no longer ‘hostile’
Though this reiterates the stand of the government of India on the matter as inherited from Manmohan Singh-led the UPA government, it marks a departure the stand taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party on the issue whilst in the Opposition. In a seven-page ‘frequently asked questions’ dealing with contentious issues including liability, compensation and right of recourse in case of nuclear mishap, the External Affairs Ministry said the understanding on the policy hurdles were reached after three rounds of discussions between the Indo-US Nuclear Contact Group, which met last in London, just three days before President Barack Obama arrived here on January 25.
“Based on these discussions, an understanding was reached with the US on the two outstanding issues on civil nuclear cooperation, which was confirmed by the leaders (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama) on January 25, 2015,” the Ministry said. Reacting on the matter Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has said, “During Congress-led UPA regime, the BJP leaders termed the bill on Civil Nuclear deal between India and US as against the interest of the country. On the basis of BJP’s suggestions amendments were also made in its sub-clause. Despite that BJP opposed the Bill and tried to topple the UPA government.”
The government on Sunday asserted that the country’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages (CLND) Act “channels all legal liability for nuclear damage exclusively to the operator.” The MEA statement said, “concerns” over the broad scope of Section 46, pertaining to possible actions under other laws, have been raised by suppliers, both domestic and foreign and clarified that this section “does not provide a basis for bringing claims for compensation for nuclear damage under other Acts.”
The ministry further said this Section applies exclusively to the operator and does not extend to the supplier was confirmed by the Parliamentary debates at the time of the adoption of the CLND Act.