India: Discussions with business leaders at CEO Forum & patent laws among other topics to be discussed during Obama's visit

Modi_Obama_Photo_Credit_Economic_TimesUS President Barack Obama will start a three-day landmark trip to India on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to build on what he has said will be one of the defining relationships of the 21st century. Obama, who is the first US president to be invited as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, will disucss some of the key issues at hand including of strategic importance, counter-terrorism engagemnet, defence, economic ties, civil nuclear & renewable energy with governmnet of India. Cyrus Mistry, Chairman of Tata Sons, will lead the Indian side to the forum of top chief executives from India and US. David M Cote from Honeywell will co-chair CEO forum from US side. While many are delighted with the agenda of discussions among the US President & Indian Prime Minster, health activists & organizations have expressed concern over the US government’s heightened efforts  to undermine access to affordable medicines from India. They are particularly concerned about dilution of Section 3(d) of the Patent Act of 1970 that allegedly restricts the vested business interest of pharmaceutical companies in US and EU in India.

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15 February 2015

Profitability without accountability

Author: M V Ramana & Suvrat Raju, Hindu

...[T]he FAQs assert that the liability act, ipso facto, takes away the rights of victims to sue suppliers even under other laws. If this interpretation of the law is correct, then it implies that suppliers cannot be prosecuted even for criminal negligence...This provides a striking example of double standards. Under U.S. law, suppliers can be held legally responsible for accidents. Consequently, for decades, the U.S. refused to join any international convention that would require it to legally indemnify suppliers. When it engineered the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, it inserted a “grandfather clause” to ensure that it would not have to alter its own law. In contrast, the Indian government seems willing to meekly surrender the rights of its citizens.

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20 February 2016

How India will protect nuclear liabilities of US firms

Author: Amit Bhandari, American Bazaar

If a US nuclear company were to build a reactor in India that suffered a catastrophe, and people were to die in India, the US government’s position seems to be that American suppliers shouldn’t face civil or criminal liability. The US believes the Indian civil nuclear liability law, which calls for both penalties, is unduly harsh. Rather than say so directly, US officials keep repeating that the “Indian law is inconsistent with the international liability regime”...Although the Indian government wants to protect US nuclear companies against the Indian liability law, critics argued that these companies are using India’s eagerness to avoid any liability, if something goes wrong...India wants to build more nuclear power plants in an attempt to reduce the share of coal in electricity generation. Increasing the use of nuclear power is also a part of the country’s strategy to tackle climate change.

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