Washington, Mar 11: A landmark US deal extending civilian nuclear technology to India could open up 100 billion dollars in energy business ventures for Americans, a top US business group said.
US President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clinched the deal in New Delhi last week that still requires US Congress approval for implementation.
It gives India access to long-denied civilian nuclear technology in return for placing a majority of its nuclear reactors under international inspection.
"This agreement could provide the US business community with 100 billion dollars worth of new opportunities in India in the energy sector alone," said Dan Christman, the US Chamber of Commerce’s senior vice president of international affairs.
"But the significance of deepening of the strategic partnership between the two democracies goes far beyond commercial terms," said Ron Somers, the president of the US-India Business Council.
The agreement could spur energy-starved India’s economic reforms and open markets to US investment in key areas from information technology and telecommunications to pharmaceuticals and insurance, Christman said.
But Bush faces a battle to get the accord through Congress where legislators are concerned that regimes like Iran and North Korea will cite it to pursue their own nuclear weapons ambitions.
The US Atomic Energy Act currently prohibits nuclear sales to states which are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India refused to sign the NPT and developed nuclear weapons on its own, but the Bush administration contends that India has a good record on not spreading dangerous nuclear technology to other states.
Bureau Report , Zee News