WASHINGTON, March 2 (IANS): The US has said it's strongly supportive of India's investment in civil nuclear power and its support to NGOs is for development and for democracy programmes and not for opposing projects like Kudankulam.
Asked to comment on a reported remark of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that three US NGOs were funding a movement in Tamil Nadu state to oppose setting up of a nuclear power plant there, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said: "I'm not aware of that."
"As you know, we are strongly supportive of India's investment in civil nuclear power," she said. "The NGOs that we fund in India are involved in the same kind of democratisation projects, et cetera."
"We are supportive, as a government, of India's investment in civil nuclear power," she repeated in response to another question. "That's not what we support NGOs to do in India. Our NGO support goes for development and it goes for democracy programmes."
Asked if the US was surprised at the Indian prime minister's statement and if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was aware of this, Nuland said: "I can't speak to that one way or the other."
Referring to several steps taken by India and Pakistan recently to improve bilateral trade and business relationships, she said: "We think this is great news and further to the warming of relations between India and Pakistan on the trade, economic and investment side."
Describing it as "a testament to the hard work both governments have been putting into that", Nuland said it was "very much part and parcel of the Silk Road vision that we have that trade and investment can help all people in the region become more prosperous".
Asked if the US was playing any role in this, she said: "Beyond encouraging both governments to keep it up, no. They are doing this on their own."