The United States and India on Wednesday agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including building six US nuclear power plants in India, the two countries said in a joint statement. The agreement came after two days of talks in Washington. The United States under President Donald Trump has been looking to sell more energy products to India, the world’s third-biggest buyer of oil.
The talks involved Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security. “They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six U.S. nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said. It gave no further details of the nuclear plant project.
The two countries have been discussing the supply of US nuclear reactors to energy-hungry India for more than a decade, but a longstanding obstacle has been the need to bring Indian liability rules in-line with international norms, which require the costs of any accident to be channelled to the operator rather than the maker of a nuclear power station.
India plans to triple its nuclear capacity by 2024 to wean Asia’s third-largest economy off polluting fossil fuels. Last October, India and Russia signed a pact to build six more nuclear reactors at a new site in India following summit talks between their leaders in New Delhi.