US committed to full implementation of India-US n-deal

Washington, Nov 17 ( Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s state visit next week, the United States has assured India that it is firmly committed to full implementation of their landmark civil nuclear deal as quickly as possible.

Noting that the nuclear deal signed during the Bush administration had transformed a “significant bilateral irritant into a real strategic opportunity,” Washington’s point man for South Asia Monday said the Obama administration” is fully committed to the civil nuclear partnership.”

Last month India had announced two nuclear reactor park sites in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat exclusively for the US companies, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake noted at an event on expectations of the summit between President Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh.

“It was very welcome step and we are firmly committed to move forward on that as quickly as possible,” he said.

Asked about any residual issues coming in the way of implementing the nuclear deal, Blake reiterated that after the announcement of the two nuclear park sites, the US was “firmly committed to full implementation of the civil nuclear deal.”

The only remaining issue was that Indian government and parliament had to take the final steps to approve nuclear liability legislation, he said, noting all US firms were in the private sector. But he saw no particular issue and felt the deal should not encounter any problem.

Meanwhile, Indian and US Indian officials have been negotiating since last July on an agreement for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.

The 123 agreement on bilateral nuclear cooperation gives New Delhi prior consent to reprocess in a new national facility under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. But before that the two sides have to agree on “arrangements and procedures under which such reprocessing will take place in this new facility.”