Speaking against the backdrop of the India Gate, outgoing US Ambassador Timothy J Roemer on Thursday said Washington was "firmly" committed to providing enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to New Delhi and that it "strongly and vehemently" supports a clean waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Roemer, who had met Indian students for an interaction on a rain swept morning on the expansive lawns of India Gate, the capital's most important landmark, also said it was a pleasure for him to stand with the youngsters at the "beautiful monument to India's history" and to look forward with them to "a bright future that awaits the great US-India partnership."
In his farewell remarks in the last day in office as US ambassador after serving a two year term, Roemer also expressed the hope that the 2006 India-US civil nuclear deal will move forward positively with New Delhi's commitment to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for nuclear damage.
His remarks on the NSG clear waiver come ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say goodbye.
Only a week ago, the 46 nation nuclear trade cartel in its Netherlands meeting last week decided to tighten regulations for the export of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies.
"Having come from the White House and Washington DC recently, I would like to say the White House and Obama administration strongly and vehemently support the clean waiver for India," Roemer, who had resigned from his diplomatic responsibilities in April this year, told reporters in New Delhi.
"Secondly, the 123 civil nuclear legislation also underscores our support for India in this debate that is going on. Thirdly, our law clearly points out to clean waiver for India. So the President firmly supports it, the 123 agreement firmly supports it and our law firmly commits us to it," Roemer said.
"So with India's commitment as they move forward to ratify the CSC and they work more closely with the US companies, I think you will see this civil nuclear agreement hopefully continue to move in a very positive direction in the future," he added.
The new NSG guidelines have caused much disquiet in India, with some seeing in it a move to question the "clean waiver" granted by the NSG to India in September 2008, that re-opened the doors of global nuclear commerce for New Delhi after a gap of over three decades.
Manmohan Singh and then US president George W Bush had signed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement in March 2006, following up on their joint statement of July 2005, which formed the basic framework for the deal.
This paved the way for the NSG to provide India a clean waiver in 2008 to conduct unhindered nuclear trade with its members, despite New Delhi not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.