US presses India hard on n-liability law

Washington: The US state department's campaign to make India fall in line and retract its civil nuclear liability laws continues unabated with a statement issued by that office noting that there ''continue to be serious concerns'' about India's 2010 nuclear liability law not being consistent with the Convention on Supplementary Compensation. The statement further argued that the IAEA remained an ''appropriate venue'' to clarify such questions.

Touching on the subject of IAEA adjudication, the statement said ''The Agency (IAEA) can be helpful in assisting countries in evaluating their compliance with the CSC.''

The department however refused to respond to a pointed query whether there was any precedent in which the IAEA had advised any other country on whether its nuclear liability laws were consistent with international standards such as the CSC.

Earlier this week the issue came out into the open when US deputy secretary, William Burns, said, ''We encourage India to engage with the IAEA to ensure that India's liability regime fully conforms with the international requirements under the [CSC].''

Welcoming India's commitment to ratify the CSC later this year Burns, however, said that if international and Indian firms were to participate in India's civil nuclear sector, ''India needs a nuclear liability regime consistent with international standards.''

His comments echoed remarks made by secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her July meeting with foreign minister SM Krishna in New Delhi at the second round of the US-India Strategic Dialogue.