Bali (Indonesia), Nov 18 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama met here today and declared their intention to push the Indo-US cooperation both at bilateral and at multilateral forums.
Singh and Obama, who met here on the sidelines of ASEAN and East Asia Summits, talked about strengthening the bonds of strategic ties put in place during the historic visit of the US President to India in November last year.
Recalling the “historic visit” of Obama to India during the same time last year, Singh said, “in the last one year, we have made progress in every direction, strengthening our bilateral cooperation in investment, trade, higher education, clean energy and defence.”
“I am very happy to report to you that today there are no irritants whatsoever in our working together in multiplicity of areas both bilaterally and on global issues,” Singh said.
Singh, who is meeting Obama for the first time after the US president's trip to India last November, noted “we have strengthened in many ways the path set out during the historic visit, whether it's civil nuclear cooperation, whether it's humanitarian relief, in disaster management, or maritime security, all the issues which unite us in our quest for a world free from war.”
In his opening remarks, the US president refereed to his “extraordinary” trip to India during which the two sides strengthened the bonds of friendship, commercial links and security cooperation.
“We continue to make progress on a wide range of issues. The bonds between our two countries are not just at the leadership level but also at personal levels,” said Obama.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for us to continue to explore how we can work together not only on bilateral front but also at multilateral level,” Obama said, identifying some of the issues as maritime security, non-proliferation and terrorism.
The two leaders exchanged pleasantries while expressing immense happiness on meeting each other once again.
Among the issues expected to be discussed was the implementation of civil nuclear deal against the backdrop of apprehensions among American companies over the liability aspect.
Ahead of the meeting, India asserted that its domestic laws with regard to nuclear liability and compensation will have to prevail and any contention otherwise would not be realistic after the Fukushima incident.
The sources said the rules should address concerns that any foreign company could have as these make it clear that liability cannot be unlimited or unending.
They underlined that law of the land will have to apply and the notification of the rules only clarifies the situation with regard to payment of compensation to victims in the case of a nuclear accident without waiting for the legal procedures to come into play.
The rules make it clear that a supplier will be liable in the case of a mishap on account of faulty material but the liability cannot be unlimited and for an unending period.
Noting that these rules deal with the contract with regard to liability, the sources said that to the extent that these do not permit unlimited and unending liability, it “addresses the concerns” that any foreign company might have.
“We don't see it putting obstacles in the path of doing (nuclear) business in India,” an official source said while referring to the provision on supplier liability, taken in the context of Clause 17(a) of the Civil Nuclear Liability Act.
The sources noted that foreign companies were already happily engaged in nuclear business in India within the ambit of existing laws and if they have no problem, the new players should also have no difficulties.