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Hillary Raises Nuclear Liability Bill Issue With Krishna

New York, Sept 28: The US today raised with India the issue of the Nuclear Liability law, which is troubling several American industrialists since it makes suppliers of equipment also liable in the event of
PTI September 28, 2010 11:21 IST
PTI
New York, Sept 28: The US today raised with India the issue of the Nuclear Liability law, which is troubling several American industrialists since it makes suppliers of equipment also liable in the event of a nuclear accident.

The liability legislation, which was recently passed by Indian Parliament, was a critical step to clear the way for the full implementation of the historic Indo-US civil nuclear deal.  

The issue was raised by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna here, which were meant to lay the groundwork for President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi in November.

"The issue was raised with Minister Krishna today and he explained about the processes that the bill had gone through," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told journalists after a bilateral meeting in which she accompanied External Affairs Minister.

"And the fact that we were ready to engage with the US companies on the questions that they had raised to be able to clear their doubts and clarify the issues they wanted to discuss with us," she added.

Clinton and Krishna met for a 30 minute bilateral at the Waldorf Astoria held on the sidelines of the opening session of the General Assembly, which kicked off last week.

Rao had also discussed the nuclear liability issue with Clinton last week in Washington.  "The US administration understands the process," Rao said.  "Secretary Clinton spoke of their own processes within the country and their often contentious nature of democracy which is a fact that we all appreciate," she said.  

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Robert Blake underlined that the liability issues is an "important priority" for the United States.

"We've taken note of some of the concerns that industry representatives have raised about some of the provisions of the liability bill and that the bill may possibly be inconsistent with international standards," Blake told journalists after the meeting.

"We look forward to working with the Indian government to work our way through this and arrive at a solution where American industry can contribute to India's ambitious civil nuclear energy needs," he told reporters.

Blake described differences between the two countries over nuclear liability issues and visa issues as "irritants" in a more complicated relation, and noted that India and the US had the "goodwill" to resolve outstanding issues. PTI