Whether the Left likes it or not, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) chairman Anil Kakodkar will discuss the India-US civil nuclear deal with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei later this month. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the IAEA general conference in Vienna, slated for September 17-21.
<b1>However, top government sources made a distinction between general discussions on the deal and entering into negotiations to conclude an India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA
India will also brief the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the contours of the nuclear agreement on September 18 in Vienna.
“In Vienna, Dr Kakodkar will be asked questions about the deal and he will have to respond,” a top Government official said.
That the Government was pushing ahead with seeking support for the deal was clear from the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bulgarian counterpart Sergei Stanishev in New Delhi on Wednesday night. Speaking at a banquet, Dr Singh made a specific reference to Bulgarian support for India's case at the NSG.
The UPA Government remains conscious of the fact that time is ticking away and it must continue the process of engagement with the international community on this key initiative.
When contacted by
, Sitaram Yechury of the CPM said, “We are going by the statement issued when the UPA-Left joint committee was set up. It said that the findings of the committee will be taken into account before proceeding with the operationalisation of the deal.” He added: “That means India-specific IAEA protocol issues cannot be taken up at the general body meeting.”
R Chidambaram, principal scientific adviser to the Government of India, said on Wednesday that nuclear energy was an “inevitable option” for the country.