The six-year logjam over implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement was broken on Sunday during talks between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi said that the civil nuclear agreement was the centrepiece of the transformed relationship between India and the US, demonstrating a new trust.

“It has also created new economic opportunities and expanded our options for clean energy. I am pleased that six years after we signed our bilateral agreement we are moving towards commercial cooperation, consistent with our law, our international legal obligations and technical and commercial viability,” Modi told newspersons after delegation-level talks with President Obama.

Modi said that he and Obama have outlined a broad vision for friendship and cooperation, which reflects the opportunities and challenges for this century.

Protecting investments Addressing the media, President Obama said that a strong relationship with India is critical for the success of America. Obama added that the two countries had “achieved a breakthrough” on two issues — civil nuclear cooperation and an agreement to resume discussions on a treaty to protect investments in each other’s countries.

Later, briefing newspersons on the civil nuclear deal, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said: “We have reached an understanding on two issues — civil nuclear liabilities and the administrative arrangements for implementing the 123 agreement.”

This agreement defines the terms and conditions for bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation and requires separate approvals by the US Congress and the Indian Cabinet.

She added that the political leadership played a key role in its implementation. “It was under very specific political directions that we set out to find a solution to the concerns that we raised. There was a clear intention to reinvigorate the relationship and take it forward,” the Foreign Secretary said.

On the issue of liability in the case of a nuclear accident, Amandeep Singh, Joint Secretary, External Affairs Ministry, said that assurances have been given under various sections of the law. “These have been discussed with the US side,” he added. Singh said that the administrative arrangement with Canada had been the template for finalising the arrangement with the US.

Nuclear insurance pool An insurance pool, or what is to be known as the India nuclear insurance pool, is being created. This pool is a risk-transfer mechanism formed by GIC Re and four other public sector general insurance firms. These companies will together contribute ₹750 crore and the balance will be contributed by the Government on a case to case basis.

“It is similar to 26 other international pools worldwide. The details of the premiums are being worked out. The US has committed to work with India to share information and best practices on the formation of this insurance pool. This is a complete risk management solution for both operators and suppliers without causing undue financial burden,” Singh said.