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US affirms plan for 6 nuclear plants in India

IANS  |  New York 

The slow-moving US plans to set up six plants in have received a boost as the two nations reiterated their commitment to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation during the 9th India-US Strategic Security Dialogue.

A joint statement issued on Wednesday after the dialogue, where the Indian side was headed by Vijay K. Gokhale, said that "reaffirmed its strong support of India's early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group".

"They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US plants in India," it added.

The statement also said that both declared their "commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors".

The US delegation to the dialogue held in was led by Andrea Thompson, Under of State for Arms Control and International Security.

The statement seeks to breathe new life into expected results of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries, which have failed to live up to the hopes since it was signed in 2008 during the Prime Ministership of and the Presidency of

The limiting civil liability for nuclear damages from the plants passed in 2010 was meant to overcome a stumbling block for US companies to set up plants in

However, financial problems of the US company that had agreed in 2016 to build six plants in put the plans on hold when it went into bankruptcy the next year.

Now owned by Brookfield Asset Management, the US-based has received the backing of the for the project and US Energy promoted it during a visit to last year.

India has ambitious plans to increase its nuclear electric generation capacity to meets its growing needs with is the in India.

Ahead of the dialogue, the third round of the US-India Space Dialogue was held on Tuesday at which the two "discussed trends in space threats, respective national space priorities, and opportunities for cooperation bilaterally and in multilateral fora", the statement said.

Indra Mani Pandey, India's Additional Secretary for Disarmament and International Security Affairs, and Yleem Poblete, the US for Arms Control, co-chaired the meeting.

Also on Tuesday, Gokhale and David Hale, the Under for Political Affairs held India-US Foreign Office Consultations.

A statement issued after the meeting by the State Department said that they affirmed "the importance of joint leadership to strengthen the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region".

"Recognising that the US and India share complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, they agreed to deepen cooperation toward their joint goals in the region, including in conjunction with other Indo-Pacific partners," it added.

The discussion between the two diplomats also covered the situations in areas of importance to the US -- North Korea, where last month's summit between US and North Korean leader on denuclearisation failed; Iran, where Trump has pulled out of the multinational denuclearisation agreement and imposed sanctions on Tehran, and Venezuela, where the US has recognised as its and wants to step down following elections marred by irregularities.

Trump wants India to play a major role in the Indo-Pacific region where the two act as bookends of democracy, a has cautiously embraced without making it appear a direct challenge to

India and the US have also stepped up multilateral cooperation with the other two major democracies in the region, and

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 09:26 IST