New Delhi, Sept 11 : With the Indo-US nuclear deal text being sent to the American Congress for a final nod, India on Thursday began preliminary discussions with U.S. companies for nuclear trade.
In a statement, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said: "Following the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) statement which enables civil nuclear cooperation by NSG members with India, The Government is taking steps to realise commercial cooperation with foreign partners in the field."
New Delhi has informed Washington about its intent to source from the US the state-of-the-art nuclear technologies and facilities based on the 123 Agreement, Sarna said. He said the Government is also moving towards finalising similar bilateral agreements with other friendly partner countries such as France and Russia.
"While actual cooperation will commence after bilateral agreements like the 123 Agreement comes into force, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India has already commenced a preliminary dialogue with the US companies in this regard," Sarna said.
The Indo-U.S, civil nuclear cooperation pact was signed between American President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in July 2005.
Once the 123 agreement gets approval from the short session of US Congress, which began on Monday and ends on September 26, it overrides the domestic Hyde Act. Normally 30 working days is the mandatory period required for a legislation to be passed in both the Houses of the Congress, but there are procedures for short-circuiting this period.
Dr. Singh will go to Washington later this month and meet Bush. The two leaders may ratify the nuclear deal, if approved by the US Congress by then.