India has not approached us for safeguards pact: IAEA
Lalitha Vaidyanathan, PTI
Vienna, Austria, September 17, 2007
First Published: 20:50 IST(17/9/2007)
Last Updated: 21:38 IST(17/9/2007)
The IAEA on Monday said it has not been approached by India for negotiations on the safeguards agreement, amid continuing suspense over whether Indian authorities will hold talks on it during the ongoing meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog.
"We are waiting for the Indian authorities to come
for talks on safeguards," IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei said at a joint press conference with Austrian Minister Ursula Plassnik after opening of the agency's 51st General Conference.
"So far, they (India) have not approached (us)," ElBaradei said.
The Indian team for the IAEA meet led by Anil Kakodkar, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, went into silent mode, unwilling to reveal their mind on the issue.
Well aware of the political sensitivities back home, Kakodkar has been extremely guarded with the media.
Signalling its support for the Indo-US nuclear deal, the IAEA also said it was "good" and "a step in the right direction". It will provide clean energy to millions of people in India, ElBaradei said.
In his opening remarks at the IAEA conference, ElBaradei emphasised the need for safeguards agreement for nuclear progammes which will be carried out by member states.
"Without safeguard agreements, the agency cannot provide any assurance about a state's nuclear activities," he said, implying that in the absence of such an agreement, the IAEA member countries could not provide nuclear cooperation.