The fate of the 123 Agreement with United States and the deal with Russia to build four additional nuclear reactors in Tamil Nadu’s Koodankulam are interlinked, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday.
“The agreement (with Russia) could be operationalised only if we have any India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. And also if the Nuclear Suppliers Group gives India the exception from their restrictive guidelines,” Singh said. Since there had been a “hitch” in finalising the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, “it was felt that it will be premature to sign the agreement which we cannot operationalise.”
The prime minister noted Russia's support in dealing with the IAEA and the commitment of support at the NSG. Asked if he had a similar assurance from China too, Singh said Beijing had not said that they would not support Delhi's case.
The prime minister acknowledged that there had been "some delay " in concluding the nuclear agreement. "I can't deny that. But I still hope that the process of bringing about a viable national consensus will yield results. So I have not given up hope that we can reach a final satisfactory outcome."
He, however, expressed the hope that negotiations with the IAEA - to be initiated this week -- are successfully concluded as soon as possible. The Prime minister said the government would then take the negotiated agreement back to the Left-UPA Coordination Committee.