NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON - A "breakthrough understanding" to open India's nuclear power sector to US firms reached during President Barack Obama's visit to New Delhi last month could be finalized this year, Indian officials say.
The Jan. 25 announcement by Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed six weeks of intensive talks, but few details were released beyond a framework based on India's acceptance of the principle that plant operators should bear primary liability in the event of a nuclear disaster.
Significant work remains on the fine print of a deal aimed at unlocking projects worth tens of billions of dollars that have been stuck the drawing board for years. India wants to nearly treble its installed nuclear capacity, which would make it the world's second biggest market after China.
US officials say details of an insurance scheme to protect suppliers from crippling lawsuits need to be thrashed out and India still has to ratify a U.N. nuclear convention. Indian officials do not rule out completing the process this year.