Negotiations over the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation deal are “nearing the end” with both sides readying for another round of talks scheduled for July 16, US ambassador David C Mulford said on Wednesday.
“These are complex negotiations,” Mulford said at the American Centre on the sidelines of American Independence Day celebrations. “If it were easy, we could have done it a long time ago.”
India’s top nuclear negotiators, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, are scheduled to visit Washington on July 16 to hammer out the remaining details with American NSA Stephen Hadley and Under Secretary of State for South Asia Nicholas Burns.
At the last round of talks in New Delhi in May, the two sides remained deadlocked on India’s insistence on its right to reprocess spent fuel. However, India has since offered to set up a separate reprocessing facility under international safeguards to allay the fears of the American non-proliferation lobby.
However, the issue of fuel guarantee is a live one, with India wanting assured lifetime supplies for its reactors.
Mulford also stressed that India and the US are “natural partners” who share values like democracy, rule of law and respect for diversity.