Terming New Delhi's signing of an international convention governing liability in case of nuclear accidents as a "positive step", US has hoped that American companies would get a level playing field in doing nuclear commerce in India.
Indian government's signing of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC), which is the basic international standard involving this kind of cooperation, is a very positive step, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Bill Burns told reporters at a White House news conference.
"We consider the signing of the Convention on Supplemental Compensation to be a positive step. What we seek is a level playing field for our companies. India leadership has said that’s what it wants to ensure, too, and so I think we’re making progress," Burns said.
"Our companies are engaged in discussions right now. We're engaged in discussions. I think we’re making progress. What we’re interested in is simply to ensure that there’s a level playing field for our companies," he said in response to a question.
Burns said the civilian nuclear agreement that was completed at the end of the last administration removed the single biggest irritant in US-India relationship and opened the door to wider cooperation.
"We've worked hard in this administration to follow through, completing, for example, a reprocessing agreement between the US and India six months ahead of schedule," he said.
"We look forward to US companies contributing to Indian civil nuclear development. And the signing by the Indian government in Vienna of the Convention on Supplemental Compensation is a very positive step toward ensuring that international standards apply and that US companies are going to have a level playing field on which to compete," Burns said.
India yesterday signed the CSC, which sets parameters on a nuclear operator's financial liability, at the IAEA in Vienna.