9 Oct 2008

US and India to sign civil nuclear deal

7:23 am on 9 October 2008

The United States and India will sign a civil nuclear deal on Friday to open nuclear trade between the two countries.

The State Department announced on Wednesday it will be signed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Washington.

The deal was expected to be signed last weekend during a brief trip by Dr Rice to India, but was held up by administrative issues.

The pact will provide India with access to US nuclear fuel, reactors and technology, overturning a ban on such trade instituted after India first conducted a nuclear test in 1974.

It could mean around $US27 billion in investment in 18 - 20 nuclear plants in India over the next 15 years, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry.