Calling the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement a “passport” for India to travel to the world to conduct nuclear trade, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday outlined India’s essential requirements for an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
<b1>What would make the agreement India-specific, Mukherjee said, responding to the nuclear debate in the Lok Sabha, is an assurance of uninterrupted fuel supplies; allowance for creating a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel for atomic reactors under safeguards, and recognition of India’s strategic programme.
Saying the agreement had been “frozen” while complex technical negotiations were on with the IAEA, Mukherjee said completing the process would take time.
The opposition demanded that the Prime Minister respond to the debate and walked out when Mukherjee rose to speak. Manmohan and Sonia Gandhi were present in the House.
Manmohan intervened during Advani’s speech to say that all that the government had done was to reiterate what the NDA government had done, by committing itself to a unilateral moratorium on conducting nuclear tests.