Bali: Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh appeared to have a short message for US president Barack Obama on the contentious civil nuclear liability law, which the Indian parliament has enacted and which US companies appear unwilling to accept, that Delhi will operate, and make adjustments, only within the ''four corners'' of its own laws.
The message was conveyed to the US president in an hour-long meeting on the side lines of the ongoing ASEAN-India and East Asia summits in Bali.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Dr Singh said, "I explained to president Obama that we have a law in place and the rules have been formulated. These will lie in Parliament for 30 days….Therefore, we have gone some way to respond to concerns of American companies and within the four corners of the laws of the land, we are willing to address any specific grievances".
Ahead of the meet, Indian government sources had indicated that though Indian civil nuclear liability rules may not address concerns of US companies, but they, and the US administration, would have to accept that Indian law will apply and that the Indian government is now operating in a post-Fukushima reality and has to protect the right of its citizens.
Under the new rules, ordinary citizens can sue for any amount, even several years after an accident.
But in a significant concession, the new definition of rules set out just before the PM's departure for Bali, clarify that operator of a nuclear facility wants to claim damages from a supplier, there is a cap of Rs1500 crore and a five year limit from the date of the accident.