Manmohan to meet Obama amid N-liability row
A day before
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets US President Barack Obama
here, India Thursday indicated it will work within its civil
nuclear liability law, a key issue in its talks with Washington
Nusa Dua (Bali): Declaring that there were "no
irritants whatsoever" in their relationship, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met US President Barack Obama here Friday but
clarified that specific grievances on the civil nuclear liability
law could only be addressed within "four corners of the law of the
"I explained to him that we have a law in place and rules have
been formulated... These will lie in parliament for 30 days.
Therefore we have gone some way to respond to concerns of American
companies and within the four corners of the law of the land, we
are willing to address any specific grievances," Manmohan Singh
said after the delegation level talks that lasted for over an
"I also told him (Obama) that we'll ratify the Supplementary
Convention (for nuclear damage)... that's where the matter
stands," Manmohan Singh said a day after New Delhi quietly
notified the implementation rules for the civil nuclear liability
law that has come under fire for alleged dilution in suppliers'
The issue has come into sharper focus in a post-Fukushima world
that has brought to the fore the dangers of nuclear radiation and
the need to protect citizens.
Obama and Manmohan Singh, who met at Grand Hyatt hotel where the
former is staying, made brief opening remarks before a section of
the media before starting the delegation level talks. The talks
took place on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit and the East
"Bonds between our countries are not just at the leadership level
but also the personal level," Obama, with Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton and other senior officials by his side, told
Obama, who began by remembering his "extraordinary visit" to India
"around the same time last year" and referring to Manmohan Singh
as his "dear friend", said there was an "outstanding opportunity"
to address a range of issues at the bilateral and multilateral
"Last year around this time, I embarked on what was an
extraordinary trip to India, in which we continued to strengthen
the bonds, both commercial, on the security side, and strategic
between the world's two largest democracies.
"And since that time, we've continued to make progress on a wide
range of issues. The bonds between our countries are not just at
the leadership level, but they're, obviously, at the
person-to-person level, given the extraordinary contributions of
Indian Americans to our culture, our politics and our economy."
"This will be an outstanding opportunity for us to continue to
explore how we can work together, not only on bilateral issues but
also in multilateral fora, like the East Asia Summit, which we
believe can be the premier arena for us to be able to work
together on a wide range of issues, such as maritime security or
non-proliferation, as well as expanding the kind of cooperation on
disaster relief and humanitarian aid that's so important."
The Indian leader, who put forward his view on the civil nuclear
liability issue later, responded in his opening remarks by saying
that there "were no irritants whatsoever" in the working
relationship between the two countries extending across
"multiplicity of areas".
Recalling Obama's "historic visit" to India, Manmohan Singh said
that "progress in every direction" had been made during the last
"And whether it is in humanitarian relief and disaster management,
maritime security - all these are issues which unite us in a quest
for a world free from the threat of war, want and exploitation."
The issues of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan came up during the
According to Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh, who briefed the media,
there was an exchange of views in context of the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear development.
The prime minister, he said, reiterated that matters should be
dealt with diplomatically.
Manmohan Singh, he said, also briefed Obama on his meetings with
Afghan President Hamid Karzai as well as with Pakistan Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
(Minu Jain can be contacted at email@example.com)