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India, US nuclear power deal

January 25, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brokered a deal with US President Barack Obama to move towards a commercial nuclear power agreement. Both countries came to an agreement in 2008 that stalled due to legalities.

Indien Barack Obama in Neu Delhi 25.01.2015
Image: Reuters/J. Bourg

Addressing a joint press conference on the first day of Obama's visit to India, Modi said in the capital New Delhi that both countries had achieved a breakthrough with regard to nuclear technologies.

"I am pleased that six years after we signed our bilateral agreement, we are moving towards commercial cooperation, consistent with our laws [and] international legal obligations," Modi said at a joint press conference.

A nuclear trade deal between India and the United States, providing India with access to civilian nuclear technology, was signed in 2008 but was delayed due to US concerns over India's strict liability laws, should there be a nuclear accident.

No immediate details were available as to how Sunday's agreement had been reached. Local Indian media outlets reported that the government has offered to set up insurance funds to indemnify companies that build reactors within India in the case of an accident.

"Today we achieved a breakthrough understanding on two issues that were holding up our ability to advance our civil nuclear cooperation and we are committed to moving towards full implementation," Obama told the press conference.

"This is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship."

'Deeply concerned' about Ukraine

Commenting on the situation in eastern Ukraine, Obama said his administration was worried about the latest ceasefire violations after shelling on the port city of Mariupol killed at least 30 on Saturday.

"We are deeply concerned about the latest break in the ceasefire," Obama said, blaming "separatists with Russian backing, Russian equipment, Russian financing, Russian training and Russian troops."

The president said however he wouldn't change the way his government is handling the situation, adding, he would keep trying to isolate Russia and would examine options short of a military confrontation with Russia.

Obama promised "to ratchet up the pressure on Russia" together with US allies including Europe.

"If Mr. Putin and if Russia are hell-bent on engaging in military conflicts, their military is more powerful than Ukraine's," he said.

"The question is going to be whether they continue to pursue a path that not only is bad for the people of Ukraine, but is... bad for the people of Russia."

Economic sanctions against Russia by the US and European Union have failed to curb Russia's support for separatists in Ukraine.

Saturday's attack on a residential area and market in Mariupol has drawn international condemnation and heightened global pressure on Russia to stop the insurgents and bring an end to the nine-month conflict which has already seen more than 5,000 killed.

jlw/glb (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)