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Krishna,Clinton welcome ‘tangible progress’ on nuclear cooperation

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Washington’s chairmanship of the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: June 14, 2012 2:40:08 am

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Washington’s chairmanship of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would give a “final impetus” to New Delhi’s membership,sources have told The Indian Express.

Krishna welcomed the “tangible progress” in civil nuclear energy cooperation with the signing of the MoU between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and US nuclear firm Westinghouse.

After holding the third Indo-US strategic dialogue talks with Clinton in Washington DC,Krishna told a joint press conference that the issue of “further access” to 26/11 plotters David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana was raised at the meeting. Interestingly,Krishna made no mention of the US waiver to India on Iran sanctions,saying only that Clinton had updated him on the P5+1 talks with Tehran. “I conveyed India’s vital interest in settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue; there are six million Indians who live in this region,which is also of critical importance to our economy,” he said.

Clinton said India had taken steps to diversify its sources of imported crude by reducing purchases of Iranian oil. “The United States recognises India’s growing energy needs,and we’re working together to ensure not only stable oil markets but additional areas of cooperation to help India attain greater energy security,” she said. Krishna said,“We welcomed the tangible progress on our civil nuclear energy cooperation with the signing of the MoU between NPCIL and Westinghouse. “ Clinton said a lot of work was still needed to be done “including understanding the implications of nuclear liability legislation,but this is a significant step toward the fulfillment of our landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement”.

Emphasizing “stronger and more effective” cooperation in counter-terrorism and related issues as an important aspect of the strategic partnership,Krishna said,“India’s interest in further access to Headley and Rana… was raised.”

Clinton pushed for FDI in retail,saying,“We look forward to working to advance negotiations on the Bilateral Investment Treaty,to further reduce barriers to trade and investment in areas like multi-brand retail,and to create hospitable environments for each of our companies to do business in the other’s country.”

On Pakistan,Krishna said,“We again stressed the importance of elimination of safe havens in Pakistan for Afghanistan’s security and the region’s stability.”

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