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'India won't amend nuclear liability bill'

October 24, 2010 19:18 IST

India, on Sunday, categorically ruled out any change in the Nuclear Liability Act as a precursor to United States President Barack Obama's maiden visit to India that begins on November 5.

Sources here said that India is very clear about its position on civil nuclear commerce and there was no question of changing the Act passed in Parliament.

India has also expressed its displeasure at the current American assistance to Pakistan. "We have candidly told the United States what we feel about aid to Pakistan," sources said.

Given Pakistan's India-centric policies, there is all likelihood of the aid being diverted for activities other than it is meant for and would be misused against India.

India seeks greater accountability and a proper monitoring mechanism of all US assistance to Pakistan so as to ensure that it is utilised properly.

Even though Obama's visit might not deliver any major announcements, chances are that many outstanding concerns between India and the US will be discussed and are likely to resolve these issues.

The matter of the removal of Indian defence organisations from the Entities List will come up for discussion during Obama's visit. Sources said that there is a likelihood of some entities being removed from the list, but stopped short of naming them. "India wants that sanctions on all entities -- like Indian Space Research Organisation, Defence Research and Development Organistaion, etc-- should be removed forthwith." 

"The Americans have shown a lot of enthusiasm in seeing progress on the issue," sources said, speaking about issue of transfer of high technology.

Issues related to the ban on outsourcing and the restrictions on the issuance of H-1B visas would also crop up during the visit. However, given that the US will see mid-term polls in early November, the move on visas and outsourcing by US politicians is being looked upon as a political ploy to appease their constituencies.

On the strategic front, sources said that the foundational agreements between India and the United States are "not exactly there yet" but close to being concluded.

The United States and India are also likely to enhance their ties in the area of counter terrorism so as to prevent any further 'Mumbai-type terror attacks'.

Meanwhile, sources said that the issue of whether Obama would announce US's intentions to push for India to be included in the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member was still very unclear.

Shishir Bhate in Tokyo