Keen to expedite building N-plants

With roadblocks cleared for implementation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, New Delhi and Washington may now move fast to facilitate US nuke firms to set up atomic power plants in India – even if Tokyo dilly-dallies on the proposed Indo-Japan deal.

New Delhi and Washington are understood to be keen to expedite setting up nuke power plants in India, beginning with US firm Westinghouse Electric Company’s proposed 6000 MWe project at Mithivirdi in Gujarat. An agreement between Tokyo and New Delhi was perceived to be a pre-requisite for US firms, particularly for the Westinghouse and General Electricals, which have parent companies – Toshiba and Hitachi respectively – based in Japan. The absence of a deal between New Delhi and Tokyo, however, posed a legal hurdle for US companies to sell India nuke technologies and equipment with components originating in Japan. 

But as interventions by Modi and Obama ended the six-year-long logjam over implementation of the India-US deal, New Delhi and Washington are now exploring the option of moving ahead even without an Indo-Japan deal. “We do not think that the absence of an agreement with Japan is an obstacle to taking forward civil nuclear cooperation with the United States,” Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, said, shortly after Modi and Obama announced the breakthrough.

New Delhi and Tokyo started talks in June 2010, but was suspended followed the mishap at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant of Japan on March 11, 2011. Talks resumed on September 3, 2013, but Tokyo and New Delhi could not clinch the deal as Japan insisted on a clause that would provide for immediate termination of all bilateral cooperation in the event of a nuclear weapon test by India.  US prez acknowledges UPA role in deal

US President Barack Obama on Monday acknowledged the role of the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in clinching the landmark India-US nuclear cooperation agreement, DHNS reports from New Delhi.

Obama conveyed his appreciation to his “old friend” Manmohan Singh, who called on him along with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her deputy Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Anand Sharma.

It is learnt that Obama had expressed the desire to meet Singh who he holds in high esteem. The US President was a keen observer of Singh’s views on economy, particularly at a time when world was in the grip of a financial crisis triggered by the Lehmann Brothers bankruptcy.

“I can tell you that here at the G20, when the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) speaks, people listen, particularly because of his deep knowledge of economic issues,” Obama had said in Toronto in 2010.

During the 30-minute meeting with the Congress delegation, the two sides exchanged views on global issues, particularly the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
 

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