Business leaders treaded with caution unlike diplomats and politicians in applauding the breakthrough in the stalled civil nuclear deal on the first day of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India.
They are waiting for the text of the agreement to be made public even after foreign secretary Sujata Singh announced on Sunday afternoon that the “deal is done”.
Singh said India and US had reached an understanding on nuclear liability with a consortium of insurance companies led by General Insurance Company and the Central government sharing the insurance pool of `1,500 crore.
Foreign ministry officials insisted pending issues have been resolved within the existing legal framework to put the deal in operation mode.
A nuclear industry source, however, said commercial cooperation was still some distance away.
MV Kotwal, the president of Larsen and Toubro, welcomed the breakthrough and hoped the agreement would adequately address the interest of every stakeholder — including domestic industries.
“Once this happens, it will open a large potential for L&T to make even more substantial contributions to India’s nuclear programme in partnership with identified foreign companies,” he said.
Suhaan Mukerji, a partner at law firm PLR Chambers and the chair of a FICCI sub-committee on civil nuclear liability, was cautiously optimistic. “We look forward to technology transfer and participation of Indian industry and resolution of the continuing legal ambiguity around section 17, 46 and rule 24 of the liability act to realise full potential of India’s nuclear energy plans.”