US media sceptic about 'breakthrough' in n-deal

Washington: The US media Sunday reported with a degree of scepticism about President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming a "breakthrough" on the stalled nuclear deal and progress on climate change issues.

Obama had "swept aside past friction with India" in seeking "to transform a fraught relationship marked by suspicion into an enduring partnership linking the world's oldest and largest democracies", said the New York Times.

"A breakthrough on the nuclear issue would provide both leaders a tangible achievement from the visit," the influential daily said in a report from New Delhi.

However, it noted "it was unclear whether American companies would agree the nuclear pact offered sufficient protection from potential liability in the case of mishaps to justify the investment".

The climate agreement also "included mostly minor initiatives compared with the deal Mr. Obama made with China last November", it said.

Absent a broader commitment to goals like those agreed to by China, the Times said Obama hopes to enlist Modi's support for a United Nations climate change accord scheduled to be completed in Paris in December.

"Obama's visit, his second as president, is a major event in India," it said.

The Washington Post said the nuclear deal "understanding, though short on specifics, moves toward resolving one of a number of nuclear-related issues that have hamstrung the countries for years".

But "the announcement contained few specific details, and some are sceptical", the Post noted citing a few experts.

The progress on various issue, however, the Post said, "was, in many ways, dwarfed by talk of the budding close relationship between the two men, which started when Modi came to Washington in September as the two countries looked to revive their stagnating relationship".

The Wall Street Journal, also noted that in reporting "breakthrough understandings" on two issues that were holding up progress, Obama or Modi "offered no specifics".

"While Sunday's discussions yielded no major accord, both leaders declared it an unqualified success, with Mr. Modi saying they would give this critical partnership sustained attention," it said.

However, "Obama's visit to India was expected to showcase the deepening relationship between the two countries, as well as a burgeoning personal relationship between the two leaders," the Journal said.

The Los Angeles Times described the "breakthrough understanding" as "a sign of a quickening thaw between the two historically frosty democracies".

But "Modi's remarks on the nuclear talks signalled that India could still choose not to move ahead with the US plants if contract terms were not agreed to, or the plants did not sell power at competitive rates", it said.

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