US firmly supports NSG clean waiver to India: Roemer (Lead, With image)

June 30th, 2011 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Outgoing US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer Thursday said Washington was “firmly” committed to and “strongly and vehemently” supported a clean waiver of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to India for carrying on unhindered nuclear trade and obtaining enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies.

In his farewell remarks on the last day in office after serving two years here, Roemer also expressed the hope that the 2008 India-US civil nuclear deal will move forward positively with New Delhi’s commitment to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation (CSC) for nuclear damage.

Roemer also described ‘pat downs’ at airports and criminal charges against Indian diplomats in America as “occasional hiccups” in otherwise “positive stories” in the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The ambassador, who met with Indian students for an interaction on a rain-swept morning on the expansive lawns of India Gate, one of the capital’s most important landmarks, also said it was a pleasure for him to stand with the youngsters at the “beautiful monument to India’s history” and to look forward with them to “a bright future that awaits the great US-India partnership”.

His remarks on the clear waiver of the NSG came ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to say goodbye.

Only a week ago, the 46-nation nuclear trade cartel at its meeting in the Netherlands, decided to tighten regulations for the export of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies that was seen by some in India as being against the spirit of the 2008 clean waiver given to it to carry on nuclear commerce with the NSG members.

“Having come from the White House and Washington DC recently, I would like to say the White House and Obama administration strongly and vehemently support the clean waiver for India,” Roemer, who had resigned from his diplomatic responsibilities in April, told reporters here.

“Secondly, the 123 civil nuclear legislation also underscores our support for India in this debate that is going on. Thirdly, our law clearly points to the clean waiver for India. So the president firmly supports it, the 123 agreement firmly supports it and our law firmly commits us to it,” Roemer said.

“So with India’s commitment as they move forward to ratify the CSC and they work more closely with the US companies, I think you will see this civil nuclear agreement hopefully continue to move in a very positive direction in the future,” he added.

On the row over ‘pat down’ security checks and criminal cases against Indian diplomats in US, Roemer said the two countries were working out ways for smooth visits by important people to both countries that go on without incidents.

The bilateral ties witnessed some bitter moments this month when India’s Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal was accused of “slavery” by his Indian domestic help, and the daughter of another diplomat, Krittika Biswas, sued the New York city for her wrongful arrest.

In two other incidents, India’s Ambassador to US Meera Shankar and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri were subjected to ‘pat down’ security checks at American airports in December last year. New Delhi took up these issues at the highest level in the US.

Noting that “every now and then” such incidents did take place in both India and the US, Roemer said the big picture was that the two countries’ relations have taken strides in the last decade and that there were “positives that transpired” during that period.

“I really hope the media will concentrate on those good news stories as well as the occasional hiccups or the challenge that takes place in the relationship,” he added.

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