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Obama hails India nuclear talks

US President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have announced they had made progress on nuclear cooperation and climate change.

Mr Obama and Mr Modi expressed hope that a landmark 2008 nuclear agreement between the US and India could begin to bear fruit.

"We are committed to moving towards full implementation and this is an important step that shows how we can work together to elevate our relationship," Mr Obama said.

The two countries had been at an impasse over US insistence on tracking fissile material it supplies to India and over Indian liability provisions that have discouraged US firms from capitalising on a 2008 civil nuclear agreement between the US and India.

"In our judgment, the Indians have moved sufficiently on these issues to give us assurances that the issues are resolved," said Ben Rhodes, Mr Obama's deputy national security adviser.

Mr Rhodes said it would still be up to US companies to assess the market and decide whether they wanted to partake. He said neither country needed to take legislative action to complete the agreements the leaders reached today.

In a joint appearance following their meetings, both men went out of their way to illustrate how their personal chemistry was yielding progress on various fronts, from defence, to trade to energy issues.

"Barack and I have formed a bond, a friendship," Mr Modi said. "We can laugh and joke and talk easily on the phone. The chemistry that has brought Barack and me closer has also brought Washington and Delhi closer."

Mr Obama said: "Your election and your strong personal commitment to the US-India relationship gives us an opportunity to further energise these efforts."

Earlier Mr Modi greeted the US president with a hug on the airport tarmac and offered an elaborate welcome at the country's presidential palace. Mr Obama also solemnly laid a wreath at a memorial honouring the father of India's independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi.

Tomorrow Mr Obama will be the guest of honour at India's Republic Day festivities, making him the first US president to attend the anniversary of the enactment of country's democratic constitution.


From Belfast Telegraph