India’s Cabinet has approved a nuclear liability bill, seen as a crucial step for bringing foreign companies into its potentially vast nuclear energy market.
India has faced a nuclear trade ban since conducting its first atomic test in 1974 and refusing to sign non-proliferation accords.
However, it began emerging from the nuclear isolation in 2008 when it signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States. The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group then lifted a three-decade global ban on nuclear trade with India.
The energy-starved country hopes to harness its new acceptance to build nuclear power plants.
US-based companies GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba, have been waiting for the liability bill to pass before entering India’s nuclear energy sector.
Meanwhile, Russian and French government-linked companies have raced ahead and have been awarded contracts.