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US, India sign commercial nuclear deal
Publication Date : 29-09-2013
Agreement to facilitate progress toward licensing the AP-1,000 nuclear reactor technology in India
The United States and India have signed two landmark agreements -- their first commercial nuclear deal and an accord between the two governments to enhance defence cooperation.
The two countries had signed a historic agreement five years ago, paving the way for India’s ultimate recognition as an atomic power. But a dispute over India’s nuclear liability law had delayed a commercial deal.
US President Barack Obama announced the commercial deal on Friday evening after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House.
“We’ve made enormous progress on the issue of civilian nuclear power and, in fact, have been able to achieve just in the last few days an agreement on the first commercial agreement between a US company and India on civilian nuclear power,” he said.
Later in a joint statement, the two leaders noted that with government-to-government procedures agreed, commercial negotiations between India’s Nuclear Power Corporation and an American firm, Westinghouse, were proceeding smoothly.
A fact sheet issued by the White House said the agreement should facilitate progress toward licensing the AP-1,000 nuclear reactor technology in India.
The two governments also decided to complete discussions on the administrative arrangements at an early date.
The Indian government intends to use US nuclear technology at commercial power sites it is developing in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh using US nuclear technology.
The two leaders urged Indian and US companies Westinghouse and General Electric-Hitachi to expedite the necessary work to establish nuclear power plants in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
“Both sides reaffirm their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement,” the joint statement said.
Indian firms will now sign a memorandum of understanding with their American counterparts for the exchange of technical information in nuclear safety matters.
Another joint statement issued after the Obama-Singh meeting noted that defence cooperation and engagement between the two countries had increased significantly over the past decade.
“We continue to work toward achieving the full vision of expanded defence cooperation set forth in the 2005 New Framework Agreement.”
The two countries endorsed the following general principles for fulfilling this vision:
“The United States and India share common security interests and place each other at the same level as their closest partners. This principle will apply with respect to defence technology transfer, trade, research, co-development and co-production for defence articles and services, including the most advanced and sophisticated technology.
“They will work to improve licensing processes, and, where applicable, follow expedited licence approval processes to facilitate this cooperation. The US and India are also committed to protecting each other’s sensitive technology and information.
“The US continues to fully support India’s full membership in the four international export control regimes which would further facilitate technology sharing.
“The two sides will continue their efforts to strengthen mutual understanding of their respective procurement systems and approval processes, and to address process-related difficulties in defence trade, technology transfer and collaboration.
“The two sides look forward to the identification of specific opportunities for cooperative and collaborative projects in advanced defence technologies and systems, within the next year. Such opportunities will be pursued by both sides in accordance with their national policies and procedures, in a manner that would reflect the full potential of the relationship.”