US deputy secretary of state William Burns has stressed the need for "levelling the playing field" for foreign and domestic companies in the country's civil nuclear industry.
During his visit, Burns held wide-ranging talks with foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai on Monday and also stressed the importance of continuing the implementation of the US-India civil-nuclear deal during his talks.
"The deputy secretary stressed, in particular, the importance of continuing the implementation of the US-India civil-nuclear deal and levelling the playing field for foreign and domestic companies wishing to compete in India's civil-nuclear market," a US Embassy statement said.
With Mathai and external affairs minister S M Krishna, Burns reviewed developments in South Asia, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. The statement said the two sides welcomed the growth in bilateral trade and expressed their support for continued efforts to deepen defence and economic cooperation, which remain essential to the strategic partnership. Krishna told Burns that he looked forward to visiting Washington for the next round of the US-India Strategic Dialogue in 2012.
Burns had on Monday said India shared its commitment to the "full implementation" of the Nuclear Agreement as both countries discussed ways to iron out differences on the nuclear liability law. Implementation of the civil nuclear agreement, signed in 2008 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then president George W Bush, has been a matter of contention, particularly due to American reservations on India's nuclear liability law.
The US contends that the legislation is not in tune with the IAEA's Convention on Supplementary Compensation thus making it difficult for US companies to start nuclear commerce with India.