PM meets Obama; discusses implementation of civil nuclear deal

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Manmohan Singh-Barack Obama
Kaul Bali (Indonesia), Nov 18: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today (Nov 18) declared that there were "no irritants" in Indo-US ties as he met US President Barack Obama here and disucssed the ways to implement the civil nuclear deal.

Singh, who met Obama for the first time after latter's trip to India last November, also 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.

"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 in his opening remarks.

Emerging after their over an hour long meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits, Singh said he explained to Obama the law of the land on liability issue regarding the civil nuclear deal.

"I explained to him that we have a law in place. Rules have been formulated. These rules will lie before our parliament for 30 days. Therefore, we have gone some way to respond to the concerns of American companies and within the four corners of the law of the land we are ready to address any specific grievances," said Singh.

The prime minister also said India was ready to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage.

"I also told him (Obama) that we'll ratify the Supplementary Convention... that's where the matter stands," Singh said.

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."

The prime minister 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, Obama 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," he said.

"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.

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.

PTI

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