India & US commit to ‘establishing’ 6 N-plants

India and US committed to “establish” six nuclear power plants in India after day long talks on strategic and security affairs.

A statement issued at the end of the talks said, “They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,” without giving details of the sites. The joint statement was issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security.

Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse was supposed to build six 1,000 nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh. The plan first ran into rough weather with India’s nuclear liability law, which scared away foreign nuclear companies.

In 2017, Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy which stalled the entire project. A year later Westinghouse was acquired by Canadian private equity firm Brookfield.

Westinghouse has now restarted talks to revive the project — but this time they are exploring the possibility of being suppliers of technology and services, rather than build full turnkey power reactors.

Officials were unwilling to comment whether the new announcement was a reaffirmation of the old agreement or whether it was new. The US reiterated its support for India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. That has stalled because China has refused to allow India in, without Pakistan.

According to the statement, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and non-proliferation challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.

The occasion also saw an India-US Space Dialogue. The Indian side was led by Indra Mani Pandey, India’s additional secretary for disarmament and international security affairs, and Yleem DS Poblete, US assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance.

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