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Hope NPCIL, Westinghouse talks conclude successfully: Foreign Secy

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Sujatha Singh, Foreign Secretary
Sujatha Singh, Foreign Secretary

Discussions are on between Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC) and it is our hope that discussions will be closed successfully, Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh said on Friday.

The Foreign Secretary was responding to a media query on whether an agreement will be signed during the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US scheduled to begin on September 26.

On the issue of nuclear liability laws, the Foreign Secretary said, “All contracts with foreign companies are subject to the Indian civil liabilities for nuclear damages act and rules. The contract has to be consistent with Indian law and there is no question of Indian law being violated. As a Government company NPCIL will follow Indian laws.”

In 2009, soon after India and the US negotiated a civil nuclear agreement, NPCIL and WEC signed a memorandum of understanding for commencing discussions on techno-commercial aspects of AP1000 pressurised water nuclear reactors in India.

During the visit, Singh will meet with US President Barack Obama in Washington on September 27. The meeting is likely to focus on reviewing of bilateral cooperation in key sectors like energy and trade and economic relations. Both sides will also review progress in the implementation of the civil nuclear initiative.

The two countries will also explore ways of expanding the defence ties between them beyond a buyer- seller relationship to a joint relationship in design development and production of defence material, Singh said.

The Prime Minister will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 28 and have bilateral meetings with some leaders. On the issue of whether he will meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff, the Foreign Secretary said that the Prime Minister’s programme is still being finalised.

Earlier in the day National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon said that the potential for growth in relations between India and US remain very strong particularly in energy, defence, education and range of strategic dialogue between the two countries.

“Economically as we go forward we will focus on infrastructure, we will work on improving market access. Besides, we are a negotiating a bilateral investment treaty,” Menon said speaking on ‘India-US’ at an event sponsored by Aspen Institute India.

ashwini.phadnis@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 20, 2013)
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