In a post-Fukushima world, India has to work within framework of its own law on issues relating to civil nuclear liability, official sources said on Thursday, a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets US President Barack Obama to discuss a range of issues, including fast tracking their nuclear deal.
"This is a reality we have to recognize not just in a post-Fukushima world… we cannot say Indian laws won't apply," sources told journalists in response to whether the issue would be an irritant in the Manmohan-Obama talks in Bali on the sidelines of the India-Asean and East Asia summits.
"We have to work within the framework of our law," said a source, who does not see it as an insurmountable problem. "If you could do business previously, why not now."
Ahead of the Manmohan Singh-Obama meeting in Bali, the government Wednesday quietly notified the implementation rules for the civil nuclear liability law. The rules relating to Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act provides the nuclear plant operator the right to recourse for the period for which the supplier of equipment has taken liability for patent or latent defects or sub-standard services under a contract.
According to the rules, an operator's claim will in no case exceed the actual amount of compensation paid by him up to the date of filing such claim.
The US has indicated that India's civil nuclear liability law would have to be brought in conformity with international conventions and the current regime imposed a heavy burden on nuclear plant operators in India.
Manmohan Singh had told journalists recently that the government would place rules and procedures relating to the civil nuclear liability regime in the winter session of parliament."It's only after that will we know the American position," the prime minister had said.
But this was being viewed as just a hiccup with official sources saying that US-India relations were in very good shape with the two countries engaging each other on a range of issues.
"There was a political dialogue not just in Afghanistan and Pakistan but also in other regions… Trade was booming and balanced. And while other topics like maritime security may be discussed, paramount in the Manmohan-Obama talks Friday would be the bilateral relationship and how to take it forward," official sources said.