American firms, which pushed hard for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, are unlikely to engage in atomic trade with India if it does not adopt a Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for Nuclear Damage, says a US Congressional report.
"It is worth noting that US firms will likely be very reluctant to engage in nuclear trade with India if the government does not become party to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, which has not yet entered into force," said a latest report on the landmark civil nuclear deal released by Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The convention, among its provisions, places the onus of compensation in case of nuclear damage on the 'Installation State' (where the nuclear facilities are located), in this case, India. However, New Delhi has not indicated when it plans to become party to CSC. The Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, which is currently locked in a stand-off between the Government and the Opposition.
The 47-page report, a copy of which is with PTI, took note of a letter by the then Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in September 2008, on the issue of where India stood regarding this international convention.
"It is the intention of the Indian Government to take all steps necessary to adhere to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage prior to the commencement of international civil nuclear cooperation under," the US-India agreement, the report said quoting Menon's letter.
India's decision to become party to the convention is, according to the US State Department, "an important step in ensuring that US nuclear firms can compete on a level playing field with other international competitors" because many other countries' nuclear firms "have other liability protections afforded to them by their governments."