The civil nuclear deal would be part of the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, the White House has said, emphasising that the US was looking forward to its nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security.
“In terms of the actual deals, the US is still looking forward to US-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security. We think that this civil nuclear partnership will bolster India’s energy security, create jobs and trade opportunities for the American people.
“So we’re still very much interested in seeing this deal move forward,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of PM Modi’s visit to the US next week.
“I think Westinghouse stands behind the viability of the project, and it presented it in its technical commercial offer to India.
“So we very much support continued negotiations between Westinghouse and its Indian partners, recognising that deals on this scale can take time,” the official said, acknowledging that this is a very complicated issue.
“This will be part of the discussion. It’s the White House Energy Week, so civil nuclear energy cooperation is bound to come up,” the official said in response to a question and dismissed reports that it has been suspended.
“I wouldn’t characterise the civil nuclear deal that was completed now nine years ago as being suspended or it’s done.
That waiver was provided for India. The Nuclear Suppliers Group agreed to a waiver for India to receive civil nuclear technology and fuel. So that’s completed,” said the official.
Meanwhile, a senior White House official preparing for PM Modi’s maiden meeting with Trump, said that the US president is well aware of India’s economy and strategic potential.
He said that Trump has already visited Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, in his capacity as a real estate tycoon.
“He has visited India. I think Mumbai, he’s been to Mumbai,” he said.
“As you know, during the campaign he was very much in touch with the Indian-American community. He expressed a very positive feeling toward India.
“I think he said that if he were to be elected, India would find a true friend in the White House,” said the official.
“He (Trump) is not new to India. He has understood their contribution to the US economy, everything that’s happening in Silicon Valley, for example. Indian Americans have really embraced the innovation and entrepreneurship. So there’s a lot of synergies and linkages between the US and India in this particular realm,” the official said.
Noting that Indian-Americans have founded 15 per cent of Silicon Valley startups alone, the official said that as a businessman, India is not new for him (Trump).
“He has been acquainted with India. This will offer an opportunity to really deepen the strategic partnership and his strategic understanding of India,” he said.
According to the official, the preparations for Modi’s trip started long ago.
“There’s been a lot of preparatory work done. There has been a great deal of preparation to make this a really memorable visit,” the official said adding that both sides recognise the importance of the US-India partnership.
“There are a lot of things that the two countries need to do together in terms of promoting security and stability.
There’s a lot they have to do that is in their mutual interests,” the official said adding that the administration has been working with inter-agency when it comes to the US- India partnership.
“There have been a tremendous amount of preparation, and we’re looking forward to a really good visit,” he added.