Millennium Post

Significant progress made in civil nuclear deal: Biswal

Observing that India has made significant progress in implementing the civil nuclear deal in the last 18 months, the Obama administration told lawmakers that it is now up to individual companies to take decisions in terms of risks and opportunities.

"One of the areas we have been able to have significant breakthroughs is the civil nuclear cooperation. We have seen in the past year-and-a-half significant progress with respect to India's establishing its liabilities law which are compliant with international convention on supplementary compensation," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on South Asia.

India, she said, has now ratified it and is now a member of the international convention on supplementary compensation for nuclear damage.

"India has established an insurance pool," she said in response to a question from Congressman Brad Sherman who wanted to have an update on the civil nuclear deal.

"I think, each individual company at this point has to make its own commercial decisions in terms of risks and in terms of opportunity. I think we are starting to see companies making those decisions," Biswal said.

"It is at this point largely a commercial decision. We stand ready through the US Government, through our financing bodies to support," senior State Department official said.

It is believed that Westinghouse Electric and Nuclear Power Co-operation India Ltd are in advance stage of talks for building six nuclear reactors in Gujarat.

The long awaited commercial deal could be inked during next month's expected visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington. There has been no official confirmation of Modi's travel to the US yet.
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