India’s dependence on Russia for nuclear power raises U.S. concerns

TOKYO — During his state visit to the U.S. and meeting with President Joe Biden in June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made numerous agreements, including for the co-production of U.S.-made fighter jet engines and India’s participation in the U.S.-led Artemis project aiming for the first manned lunar landing in half a century. Alongside various agreements, their joint statement quietly included nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

“The leaders noted ongoing negotiations between the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Westinghouse Electric Company for the construction of six nuclear reactors in India,” the statement says. There is nothing new about the talks. “The two leaders have simply confirmed that the plan is still there,” Masato Nabeshima, a research director at the Japan Electric Power Information Center, explains.

What are the U.S.-India talks on building nuclear power plants?

India has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). Nevertheless, the U.S. in 2008 acknowledged India as a de facto nuclear power by signing a nuclear agreement, and asked the Nuclear Suppliers Group — a transnational body of nuclear supplier countries that aim to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons by curbing the export of related development materials and technology — to give India special treatment.

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India, Russia, U.S.