India and the United States have reached a landmark civil nuclear deal. It was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The pact will give U.S. companies access to India’s massive nuclear energy market.
In what President Obama called a “breakthrough”, the two sides have resolved key hurdles on the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and the tracking of fuel supplied by the US and other countries for its proposed nuclear plants. “We have broken the logjam of the past few years. We have reached an agreement. The deal is done,” foreign secretary Sujatha Singh announced after extended discussions between the two leaders lasting over three hours.
In another major step on cooperation in the defense sector, the two countries renewed an enhanced Defense Framework Agreement for the next 10 years.
As Prime Minister Modi described it, the nuclear deal was the centerpiece of the Obama-Modi discussions, given its contentious nature, but the two leaders reached an understanding on a number of other areas, including defense. In breaking the logjam, experts feel the Modi government has managed to achieve what the previous Manmohan Singh government could not.