US not frustrated over delay in nuclear liability law

Washington, May 29 (IANS) The US says it’s not frustrated at the delay in India enacting the nuclear liability act to take their ‘win-win’ nuclear deal forward as it understands the ‘political resonance’ over it because of the Bhopal gas disaster.

‘I don’t think it’s taken that long,’ Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake told reporters Friday when asked if the US was frustrated at the delay which was coming in the way of US companies selling nuclear reactors to India.

‘India is a democracy and, like our own democracy, they have to work a bill first through their own cabinet system and then they have get a consensus within their own parliamentary system on this very, very important bill.’

‘And it has some political resonance in India because of the Bhopal disaster. So people obviously look at this very closely and they should. It deserves that kind of scrutiny.’

The passage of this legislation is a priority for the Indian government, he said, citing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks on the issue at his recent press conference.

‘And it’s a priority because it’s going to help the United States and other countries to deliver nuclear technology that will help to meet the energy needs of India’s fast-growing economy. And it will also help us because we’ll be able to substantially increase our exports, but also provide much needed new jobs in the United States.’

‘So we see this as a win-win for both of our countries,’ Blake said. ‘And we’re not frustrated. We trust Prime Minister Singh’s judgment on this. ‘And our main interest is in making sure that the legislation that is passed is compliant with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, which is the international standard for such legislation.’

‘If passed, it would provide a very important legal protection and open the way for billions of dollars in American reactor exports and thousands of jobs,’ he said.