New Delhi: India and the US may have achieved a breakthrough in the nuclear deal during President Barack Obama's visit but reports suggest the deal is being interpreted differently by Indian and US officials.
Indian officials said that the way has been cleared for nuclear commerce as America agreed to lift its insistence on flagging or tracking the nuclear material supplied to the nation.
American nuclear suppliers welcomed the move but also said that they are still scrutinizing the fine print in the liability law with US Ambassador Richard Verma saying, “It is up to the companies what to do."
The US wanted to track the whereabouts of material they supply, which was required under its rules. But India said that the demand is intrusive, especially in view of the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, which are already in place.
The implementation of the India-US nuclear deal, worked out during the UPA government's first term, headed by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2008, was stalled over the tough provisions in India's Civil Nuclear Liability Act.
Paris-based energy and nuclear policy consultant Mycle Schneider said, "It's very unclear. I don't think there's enough information out there that makes it possible to make a coherent statement."
A senior official of the Westinghouse, responsible for supplying reactors for the 6,600-megawatt nuclear plant, said that setting up the plant could be further delayed if there is no clear mandate put in place for the authorities.
Nuclear experts believe that the insurance pool to offset the liability law will also make the project more expensive.
MK Bhadrakumar, ex-diplomat and foreign policy expert, believes that there are clear differences in interpretations in the two countries.
Bhadrakumar told a newspaper that he doesn't see much in the visit and also claimed that there was nothing special for the Narendra Modi's flagship programe ‘Make In India' because the US has announced investments and loans worth USD 4 billion by American agencies as part of measures to bolster trade with India.