Categorized | Editorial

Obama-Modi ties reflect deepening relationship between US and India

Posted on 29 January 2015 by admin

US industrial interests took centre-stage at the start of Barack Obama’s visit to India as he and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, outlined a deal to limit the legal liability of US suppliers in the event of a nuclear power plant catastrophe.

The Indian government has agreed to a state-backed insurance scheme that would cap the exposure of nuclear suppliers and open the door to billions of dollars of new contracts.Indiawill also allow closer tracking of spent fuel to limit the risk of it falling into terrorist hands.

“Today we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our civil nuclear cooperation,” US President Obama said.

“The [2005] civil nuclear agreement was the centrepiece of our transformed relationship, which demonstrated new trust and economic opportunities and expanded our option for clean energy,” added Indian Prime Minister Modi.

“In the course of the past four months we have worked with a sense of common purpose to move it forward … I am pleased we have agreed the next stage, consistent with our law and technical and commercial viability.”

To fuel its rapidly industrialising economy,Indiahopes to increase the share of electricity generated from nuclear sources from 4% to 25% by 2050.

Modi said he supported efforts to tackle climate change, but pointedly refused to accept comparisons with the recent US deal withChina, whichIndiaviews as further ahead in its industrialisation phase.

“We expressed hope for a successfulParisconference on climate change this year,” said the Indian prime minister. “The agreement that has been concluded between theUSandChinadoes not impose pressure on us;Indiais an independent country. But climate change and global warning itself is huge pressure.”

The two leaders trumpeted more limited deals on air pollution and renewable energy that theUSpresident said would help “promote clean energy and confront climate change”. TheUSsaid it would share data and tools to help improve air quality.

Obama said his decision to become the first American president to attend the Republic Day parade reflected his commitment to deepen theUS’s relationship withIndia. “A strong relationship withIndiais critical toAmerica’s success in the 21st century,” he said.


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