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IAEA chief meets Atomic Energy Commission head

india Updated: Oct 09, 2007 16:42 IST

IANS
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The UN's nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei met Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar and discussed issues related to India's civil nuclear programme in Mumbai on Tuesday, as the government and the Left parties met in New Delhi over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Kakodkar later accompanied International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief ElBaradei -- who arrived in Mumbai on Monday night on a four-day visit to India -- to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Anushakti Nagar on the outskirts of the city.

ElBaradei, a strong supporter of the trailblazing nuclear deal, inspected the BARC facility and had lunch with nuclear scientists.

Officials were, however, tight-lipped on the issue of India's safeguards negotiations with the IAEA that has become a make-or-break issue between the ruling coalition and its Left allies.

"Though the visit to the Mumbai facilities are very technical in nature, the trip comes ahead of an informal October-end deadline for India to clinch negotiations with the IAEA," a senior official of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said.

The IAEA chief will be in New Delhi on Wednesday and may go to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet ElBaradei on Wednesday.

The prime minister has invited ElBaradei for lunch at his 7 Race Course residence on Thursday, the DAE official said.

The government, which have categorically rejected any negotiation with the IAEA -- has repeatedly stressed that it has not yet started formal negotiations with the IAEA.

The IAEA chief will visit the Electron Beam Centre for Material Processing in Navi Mumbai later on Tuesday.

He will get to see Indian expertise in adapting nuclear energy for peaceful purposes when he visits the Tata Memorial Centre's Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research, and Education in Cancer, where he will be handed over an indigenously designed cancer teletherapy machine called the Bhabhatron.

The machine, developed by BARC, will thereafter be sent to Vietnam by the IAEA.