India and the US have resolved government to government permissions to enable commercial negotiations between Nuclear Power Cooperation of India (NPCIL) -- the nuclear power plant operator in the country -- and Westinghouse, and for the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to begin its independent evaluation of the safety of the power plant, said national security adviser (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon.
A preliminary agreement between NPCIL and Westinghouse is expected to be signed after the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US president Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC on September 27.
Both the NSA and foreign secretary Sujatha Singh said that civil nuclear projects in India will naturally be subject to Indian law, including civil liability. “We will not dilute or violate the liability law,” Singh said. The NPCIL and Westinghouse are in talks for commercial contracts for six reactors in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.
Menon said at a lecture at the Aspen India Institute that it has been India’s consistent stand that the power plant should meet the highest standards of safety delivering power at a price that is competitive vis-a-vis other sources of energy.
“Domestic and foreign vendors have sought clarifications on some points of that law, which are being examined”, he added.
The foreign secretary said the Singh-Obama meeting will focus in particular on reviewing bilateral cooperation, touching upon the key pillars such as energy, security, trade and economic relations.
India demands ‘some beginning by Pak’
India on Friday said there has to be “at least some beginning” by Pakistan in addressing its serious concerns ahead of a possible meeting between PM Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly meeting next week.
“We have concerns on many things that we have conveyed to Pakistan over a period of time. We need some deliveries. We need indications that there is seriousness on the items that we have indicated to them,” external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said.
However, Khurshid said a final decision on the meeting will be taken by the PM.