US hopes India’s liability law conforms to international practice

New Delhi, Sep 15 (Calcutta Tube) It is in India’s interests if its regulations on nuclear liability are in line with international practice, a top US economic official said here Wednesday.

The Indian parliament had last month approved a legislation, which will for the first time allow suppliers to be sued for liability in case of a disaster at a nuclear installation.

This had led to concerns being aired by the US and American companies that it would hinder participation of foreign firms in the Indian civil nuclear power programme.

‘India has to make its own decision, but (it should) look at the practices of other countries. Its rules and regulations should be consistent with those of other countries… but not because US told it to,’ Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs Robert D. Hormats said here at a function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

He pointed out that 29 other countries, who also had a civilian nuclear power programme, did not have provision for supplier liability in their legal regime.

‘It is a decision that India has to make and it understands the concerns. It is now a question what the Indian government will have to do as a follow-up to that,’ he said.

Hormats said ‘concerns’ about the nuclear liability bill had been raised by ‘US government and American companies, as well as other foreign suppliers, and Indian companies too’.

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