US makes strong pitch for nuke deal

Written by Economy Bureau | Mumbai, Oct 29 | Updated: Oct 30 2007, 05:21am hrs
US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday made a strong pitch for the operationalisation of the India-US civil nuclear deal. "The historic agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation is an important part of the US-India relationship, and it is beneficial to both countries," he noted.

He told select journalists that India is one of the world's largest and most peaceful states with advanced nuclear technologies, and has been isolated from the rest of the world on nuclear issues. "The civilian nuclear agreement will provide India access to the technology which can help it reach its economic and environmental objectives. The US remains committed to this agreement," he noted. He was speaking at the sidelines of US India CEO Forum Infrastrcuture Investment Conference. Later he held meetings with the RBI Governor YV Reddy and Sebi chairman M Damodaran.

Paulson called upon India to resolve internal disputes at the earliest. He said that the US and India share the challenge of ensuring secure and clean energy supplies. "We understand that economic growth and environmental responsibility are necessary, compatible goals. Moving forward with the civilian nuclear agreement isone part of the solution. Working together on a post 2012 framework through UN climate change process is another. And, if we are to be successful in meeting our energy and environmental challenges, it must be against the backdrop of a strong economy," he added.

On Doha Development Round, Paulson spoke at length. He said "the agreement was within reach and the potential benefits are so great that we must not let it slip through our grasp. Working together to successfully conclude Doha agreement will be the single most effective thing we can do to help raise living standards in India and around the world."

Moreover, Paulson said that the US President has asked him to explore option of setting up of clean technologies fund with the involvement of various countries across the world. Sharing of clean technologies would also help achieve the goal of environment conservation and address the issue of climate change.

On US regulatory framework allowing foreign banks to open their office, Paulson said that the Federal Reserve Bank is quite indepednent body and this was not an issue of negotiation. Recently the US banking regulator has cleared the ICICI bank's proposal in this regard.