The government is determined to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency to conclude an India-specific safeguards agreement, but officials have not yet been given the green light to go to the Board of Governors in Vienna.
While official sources are unwilling to specify a time line for the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement to be finalized, a senior official said the IAEA process could take between “72 hours (three days) and 45 days.”
At the Nuclear Suppliers Group, where informal negotiations are ongoing, though India is not a member, the matter of a waiver for India can only take place once the Indian government gives a nod. “There is no question of anything going on auto pilot,” an official said.
With a nod from India, not only the United States, but leading NSG members like Russia, France and Britain would also pull out all stops to help the India-specific waiver come into force. When it comes through, India will be able to resume trade in nuclear fuel and technology for its civilian power sector.
“I do not believe it will meet much hostility,” a western diplomat said, even from China. The 45-member NSG works on a consensual basis and some countries retain apprehensions about a waiver for India.
“The N-deal is a package deal, it is not just confined to the Indo-US,” a diplomat said. “Though we will try to adopt it (a waiver for India to begin nuclear commerce with the international community) as soon as possible, the NSG will need a couple of weeks to finalise the matter.”