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Ambassador Ms. Meera Shankar's remarks at the signing of the Agreement on Arrangements and Procedures for reprocessing of U.S. obligated material by India

Washington, DC

Under Secretary Burns, I am very happy to be here today for the signing of the Agreement on Arrangements and Procedures for reprocessing of U.S. obligated material by India. With this we have taken another significant step forward in the implementation of our bilateral agreement for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

            I wish to also acknowledge, today, the hard and meticulous work done by the Indian and U.S. negotiators that led to the completion of negotiations, well ahead of the stipulated period of one year. This early completion in some sense reflects how our two countries are increasingly getting into the habit of working together. I would be remiss if I do not mention the key role and guidance that was provided by Under Secretary Burns, particularly at difficult moments during the negotiations, which led to their successful conclusion.

            The historic bilateral cooperation agreement for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the 123 Agreement, that we signed two years back provided for reprocessing of US obligated nuclear material in an Indian national facility under IAEA safeguards. These Arrangements and Procedures are pursuant to Article 6 (iii) of the 123 Agreement and an important component of our bilateral civil nuclear cooperation.

            Government of India has an ambitious programme for development of civil nuclear energy to meet our growing energy needs. Our target is to increase our installed capacity more than seven fold to 35000 MWe by the year 2022, and to 60,000 MWe by 2032.  International cooperation, including cooperation with U.S. firms, is an important component of this plan. Today’s agreement will facilitate the participation of U.S. companies in India’s rapidly expanding nuclear energy sector.  As you are aware the Government of India has already designated two sites for nuclear power plants to be established in cooperation with the U.S. and the companies of the two countries are now engaged in discussions.

            The signing of this Agreement today, and a few days back, of the Counter-terrorism Cooperation initiative in New Delhi, is also a reflection of our deepening ties. We have had in the last month our first Strategic Dialogue, the meeting of the CEO’s Forum, as well as several other high level visits. We are now looking forward to the visit of President Obama to India in November this year. We are confident that the visit would take our relationship to the next level and demonstrate how our two countries are working together to find solutions to the pressing global challenges of the day and for promotion of peace and stability in Asia and beyond. This, of course, means a lot of hard work for both of us. But I am confident that both our teams would be able to work together to achieve these objectives.

    Thank you.