The United States and India reached a deal Sunday to change on liability laws that its leaders say will allow American companies to invest in nuclear energy development in India.
A landmark nuclear deal in 2008 was to bring tens of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the U.S. But the two nations had been at an impasse since India passed the laws in 2010 that left suppliers, not operators, accountable for damages resulting from accidents at nuclear facilities.
The compromise came in the form of a memorandum of law understanding among the two governments after a series of meetings between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It does not require any legislation. But it will be up to the companies to decide whether to do business in India.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes called the agreement a “breathrough.”
“We’ve finally resolved issues that have been outstanding for several years,” he said.
U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma told reporters that the deal will bring in Indian online with international norms.
Obama and Modi also agreed to increase renewable energy, fight terrorism, keep Afghanistan stable and a 10-year defense agreement.
Both sides heralded the energy agreement, which included a reduction in HFCs, a gas is a compound used as a coolant and an aerosol propellant, and an increase in solar and wind energy. India did not agree to a cut in carbon emissionrs.
Counselor John Podesta said that Obama liniked climate change “to the development gap for India,” that Modi said climate change was “an article of faith for him” and that he is “inspired” by Obama’s leadership on it.
On the overall takeaway, Rhodes pointed to each of these achievements as a sign that the US and India are moving past snags and toward a relationship in which the are stronger partners on the global stage.
“It was a different tone that has been set by Prime Minister Modi,” said Rhodes. “He wants to take the relationship beyond some of the issues we’ve been hung up on . . .That’s our key takeaway here . .. we’ve opened up the door to do a lot more with India in the years to come.”