11 Oct 2008

US signs multi-billion dollar nuclear deal with India

3:50 pm on 11 October 2008

The United States and India signed a potentially lucrative agreement on Friday that would allow India to buy to US civil nuclear technology for the first time in three decades.

The accord, which has been criticised by non-proliferation advocates, was signed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee after years of tortuous negotiations.

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.

The deal could produce about $US27 billion in investment in 18 to 20 nuclear plants in India over the next 15 years.

Before signing the pact, Mr Mukherjee alluded to the business opportunities that may await U.S. firms.

"We look forward to working with the US companies on the commercial steps that will follow to implement this landmark agreement," he said.