India, US hopeful to break logjam on N-liability during Obama's visit

New Delhi: Officials of India and US met in London on Wednesday to break the deadlock upon operationalization of the civil nuclear deal between the two countries.The action being taken just days before the US
india us hopeful to break logjam on n liability...
India TV News Desk January 22, 2015 12:56 IST

New Delhi: Officials of India and US met in London on Wednesday to break the deadlock upon operationalization of the civil nuclear deal between the two countries.

The action being taken just days before the US President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi can also become a progressive discussion between the two PMs.

Since 2010, US was stuck on the nuclear liability law as it wanted to amend the ‘tort law' – a law that offers remedies to those harmed by civil wrongs.

It was apprehensive that section 46 of The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010, keeps open the possibility to seek damages under the tort law.

This section states: “The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law for the time being in force, and nothing contained herein shall exempt the operator from any proceeding which might, apart from this Act, be instituted against such operator.”

However, India wanted to offer an ‘insurance pool' as an effective cushion for the supplier's liability. Indian officials argued that the section talks of “operators” and not the “suppliers” which are US firms like GE and Westinghouse in this case.

According to Times of India Newspaper, now the two parties have finally agreed upon the legal formulation of the law under which an assurance is being sought from the Indian government that they cannot claim compensation under the tort law.

Currently, both the sides have exchanged drafts and are now working on an appropriate language for the same as is told by a senior Indian official, privy to the discussion.

On the issue of “right to recourse” under section 17(b), India has proposed a nuclear insurance pool which will take care of the “supplier's liability”. The General Insurance Corporation (GIC) has been tasked with setting up India's nuclear insurance pool. It has reported to the government that it has managed to arrange coverage equivalent to $78 m out of the total liability limits for each operator (based on coverage from eight domestic insurers) but was attempting to obtain the remainder through international insurance pools.

According to the official, this insurance pool will have contributions from all the stake holders of the deal equally i.e. from both suppliers and operators and will also take care of the supplier's liability.

Speculations are high that if everything worked out well then there can be a possible agreement between the two countries during Obama's visit to India on Republic Day which can operationalize the stalled civil nuclear deal between the two countries.

 
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