US-India Business Council launches campaign for n-deal approval

August 9th, 2008 - 10:09 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has launched an advocacy campaign on Capitol Hill to secure US Congressional approval for the India-US civil nuclear deal. The premier business advocacy organisation representing 280 of the largest US companies investing in India, joined by two dozen of India’s largest global companies, launched the campaign following approval of an India-specific safeguards agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“This marks an historic victory for India and for the globe,” said USIBC president Ron Somers.

The trade group, formed in 1975 under the aegis of the US Chamber of Commerce, had earlier launched a similar campaign in 2006 for the passage of the US enabling law for civilian nuclear cooperation with India by changing the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954.

USIBC has also pledged to energise its US Chamber-sponsored Coalition for Partnership with India to work with foreign policy experts and business leaders to ensure a successful conclusion to the deal.

Coalition for Partnership with India comprises American businesses, academic institutions, associations, think-tanks and like-minded individuals supporting a deeper strategic partnership with India.

The implementing 123 agreement finalised last year will come up for US Congressional approval after the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) approves the India deal by changing its guidelines for trade with a state that has not signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“India’s responsible record in developing its existing civilian nuclear power programme will bring much-needed talent and innovation to the ‘nuclear renaissance’ underway, necessary to stem global warming,” Somers said.

India will have the opportunity to use foreign expertise to bolster its civilian nuclear power programme as well as making it a responsible member of the international nuclear energy market.

India currently has a total installed capacity of 135,000 MW, mostly comprised of thermal power, which is carbon emitting, causing global warming.

India’s Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) has a goal of augmenting this capacity by as much as 30,000 MW to 60,000 MW over the next 20 years - requiring investments in excess of $100 billion.

“US companies look forward to cooperating with Indian companies to achieve this important energy security infrastructure build-out,” Somers said.

US businesses will play an important role in helping India achieve the benefits of civilian nuclear energy, which will increase the supply of power and electricity in India, the trade group said.

Of the world’s existing nuclear power reactors, which number 400, India’s reactors total 22, while US reactors exceed 100 - more than any other country.

The Civilian Nuclear Initiative allows India the opportunity to move forward with its plans for reducing dependence on fossil fuels, ultimately leading to less pressure on the international oil markets, it said.

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