As top Indian and US officials iron out differences to operationalise the civilian nuclear pact, the Indian scientific establishment has insisted on an "explicit" provision enabling reprocessing rights in all future bilateral pacts.
"We need to have explicit provision enabling reprocessing in all bilateral cooperation agreements which India might enter into the future," Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology headed by P G Narayanan.
India's insistence on right to reprocess the spent nuclear fuel and perennial cooperation even if it were to conduct an atomic test are among the differences that the two sides are seeking to wriggle out of.
After talks with US Undersecretary Nicholas Burns in Washington on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said the two sides had made "considerable progress" and hope to finalise the 123 Agreement "as soon as we can".
"The Committee also desires that the Department (DAE) should ensure that in the future, the country is able to pursue its nuclear activities, whether civilian or military, as per its own national interests," it said.
The parliamentary panel backed the civilian nuclear pact of 2005 with the US and strongly favoured continuance of nuclear research in strategic and civilian fields.
Talks between the two sides focused on sorting out issues in the 123 agreement like right over reprocessing of spent fuel, nuclear testing and perennial supply of fuel for safeguarded Indian atomic facilities.