Days before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives In India on her first official visit after taking charge, India is learnt to have firmed up a site each in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh that will be dedicated for the first US nuclear reactors after the nuclear deal. The identification of the sites flows from a commitment India had given, through a letter of intent under the nuclear deal, which commits India to purchase 10,000 MW from US nuclear companies and mark “at least two sites” for this purpose. Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were the two states that offered sites for this and have now been approved. While this has already been indicated to Washington, sources said, a formal announcement could happen during Clinton’s visit.
On a broader level, India and the US have agreed to restructure their interaction and condense some 27 ongoing bilateral dialogues at various levels under what will now be called “five pillars” of the relationship — Strategic and Defence Cooperation, Science & Technology and Health Innovation, Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development, and Economic, Trade and Agriculture.
It’s learnt that officials from both sides have also firmed up the Technology Safeguards Agreement which will allow India to launch satellites built with US-origin equipment. This is expected to be signed during the visit and is an important precursor to the Commercial Space Launch Agreement, which has been pending for a long time.
Another crucial agreement that is on the verge of being finalized over the next couple of days is the End-User Verification (EUV) Agreement, which would then permit US to sell defence products to India.
However, sources said, US is not keen to go public on this because exceptions have been made for India, deviating from the standard format of the EUV so as to accommodate Indian concerns over on-site inspections. This agreement was delayed due to Left opposition in the last UPA tenure. Another agreement on science & technology cooperation will also be concluded during the visit which will set up an endowment fund — with equal contributory partnership between the two countries — to facilitate exchange of people and projects.
Clinton, who plans to be in India for five days, is expected to arrive in Mumbai on July 17 where she will stay the weekend. Ratan Tata and other top business leaders will have meetings with her besides several other interactions she has planned with students, including Bollywood stars.
She is slated to reach Delhi on July 19 and will spend the next day in official meetings before flying out on July 21. On July 20, she will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Clinton and Krishna will hold delegation-level talks in the evening, which will be followed by dinner.
This will be her first visit after having recovered from her elbow fracture and, sources said, Washington was cautious not to include a Pakistan stopover for her so as to avoid any notion of re-hyphenating India and Pakistan.
Source - Indian Express