The US Chamber of Commerce has come out strongly behind the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and has urged the US Congress to approve it before the close of the 110th Congress.
In a statement a couple of days ago, the business chamber said, 'The Indo-US civilian nuclear initiative will bring India into the international nuclear non-proliferation mainstream and enhance the safety of India's civil program. The initiative will also help to revitalize the US nuclear industry and create thousands of high-tech American jobs.'
It noted that Congress had affirmed India's worthiness as a partner in civilian nuclear trade in December 2006 when it passed the Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act by overwhelming bipartisan margins.
Since then, sensitive issues relating to non-proliferation have been carefully considered and unanimously resolved by the 35 governors of the IAEA and the 45-member nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, it added.
'With India's 34-year nuclear isolation now history, the opportunity for US companies today is tremendous, with an expected 30,000 to 60,000 MWe of new nuclear generating capacity by 2030, representing a potential $150 billion of new investment,' it said, adding, 'If US companies are allowed to compete, a modest share of that business could support 250,000 high-tech American jobs.'
Urging that it was crucial for Congress to act now, the chamber pointed out that French and Russian firms were already working in India, yet US firms could not engage until Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement.