INDIA IS waiting for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “digest” its written submissions and discussion points on a safeguards agreement before sending a team of negotiators to Vienna for the next round of talks.
Officials familiar with the discussions told HT that there were enough provisions in the IAEA statute to take care of India’s concerns about fuel supply arrangements being built into an India-specific safeguards’ agreement.
Indian negotiators, who will leave for Vienna in the next couple of weeks, believe the first round of talks went well. “We believe the IAEA Director-General (Mohammad ElBaradei) has a positive attitude towards an India-specific agreement.”
Replying to the debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Lok Sabha on November 28, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said there were three components in the agreement being negotiated with the IAEA.
“They are assurances of the fuel supply, right to create the strategic fuel reserves and recognition of the separation plan, in other words, recognition of the strategic programmes,” Mukherjee said. “These are highly technical details, which are being worked out by the experts… We are quite confident that they will protect our interests,” he added.
Though an agreed text of the safeguards’ pact must clear the UPA-Left committee, the UPA has decided not to sign the accord with the IAEA board till all curbs on India are lifted at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).