Obama, India’s Modi claim breakthrough on nuclear issues

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By Katie Zezima

At the start of a three-day U.S. presidential visit rich with pageantry and symbolism, President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that the two countries have made progress toward resolving a long-standing impasse on civilian nuclear cooperation.

Obama said that the United States and India have reached a “breakthrough understanding” that would make it easier for U.S. firms and others abroad to invest in Indian nuclear power plants. Indian law holds suppliers, designers and builders of plants liable in case of an accident, making companies reluctant to invest in the plants. The two countries have also long failed to agree on how to track nuclear material.

The new understanding, although short on specifics, addresses two of a number of nuclear-related issues that have hamstrung relations for years, preventing implementation of a landmark civilian nuclear deal reached during the George W. Bush administration.

“We’re committed to moving towards full implementation,” Obama said. “And this is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship.”

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