India is yet to address the concerns of American companies with regard to civil nuclear liability laws, a senior administration official has said, noting that the two countries, nevertheless are making progress on the implementation of civil nuclear agreement.
"We continue to talk about the civil nuclear liability legislation in India, that still is under review in the Supreme Court and in the parliament, but there's still some clauses of that legislation that cause concerns to some of our companies," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told reporters.
"So that is still something that needs to be addressed. But we also welcome the fact that the Government of India has signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. That's certainly a welcome step forward, and we urge our Indian friends to consult with the IAEA to make sure that their own legislation is in conformance with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. So in short, I think there's progress but still work to be done," Blake said.
Blake said there is a bipartisan support in the United States on India.
"It's important to stress what we've said for many, many years, which is that there's a bipartisan consensus in the United States, and I believe in India as well, to develop our strategic partnership further," he said.
"That's been reflected in so many ways, but particularly in the strong people-to-people ties that we have, but also in the strong bipartisan support that the Civil Nuclear Agreement received when it came up for a vote in the United States. So I expect that whoever is elected in November will continue to support the development of our strategic partnership with India," he said.
Responding to a question, Blake said early this year a Memorandum of Understanding for Early Works Agreement was signed between Westinghouse and the Nuclear Power Cooperation of India.
"So we very much welcome the signing of that MOU, and this is, I think, a very concrete sign, first of all, of our companies' continued interest in working in India, but also I think a concrete sign on the part of the Government of India as well that they too are interested and that it’s important now to start developing some of these early works, like site preparation, like getting contracts ready, and so forth," Blake said.
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