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NSG to meet tomorrow to discuss India's demands

A special meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be held in Vienna on Thursday to discuss India's demand for a "clean, unconditional" exemption in order to operationlise the Indo-US nuke agreement.

world Updated: Sep 19, 2007 19:00 IST

A special meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be held in Vienna on Thursday to discuss India's demand for a "clean, unconditional" exemption in order to operationlise the Indo-US nuke agreement.

Ahead of the meeting, Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar said India, not being a signatory to nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, expects the US to work out clean and unconditional exemption from NSG for India.

It is expected that the NSG will hold a meeting in this regard at the Japanese centre here. However, India has to wait for such a demanding waiver from NSG.

Even as the Left's opposition to operationalisation of Indo-US nuclear deal mounted, Kakodkar said everyone in the nuclear community wants early negotiations between India and IAEA and the NSG to help implement the deal.

Indian Ambassador to Austria Sheel Kant Sharma and other officials had a meeting with the NSG's Troika -- South Africa, Brazil and Germany (past, present and future leaders of the grouping) - as a part of the outreach programme of the NSG.

"India has made its position very clear that it expects clean, unconditional exemption after recognising it as a unique country," Kakodkar told a select group of Indian reporters here.

The 123 agreement has made provision for sustained supply of fuel for the imported reactors and the NSG guidelines would have to be consistent with it. "That is why we are emphasising on clean, unconditional exemption," Kakodkar said.

India has to reach a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) soon and the NSG has to change its guidelines to allow international nuclear trade with India to operationalise the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, he said.
He said these things have to be done in a correct manner fully protecting Indian interests.

Kakodkar, who met US Energy Secretary Samuel W Bodman earlier this week, said the US also expects India to pursue the safeguards issue with the IAEA.

"Everyone in the nuclear community wants this to be carried out -- sooner the better," he said.

Kakodkar said getting the exemption from the 45-member NSG was the responsibility of US negotiators.

IAEA sources said Kakodkar is expected to meet IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei during the week.

The AEC chief had meetings with his counterparts from the US, Russia, France, Vietnam, Bangladesh and South Africa on cooperation programmes.

Kakodkar in his briefing also said as far as the world framework which is emerging on nuclear renaissance is concerned, there is a lot of thinking going on.

He said since the energy demands are increasing, nuclear energy option is inevitable.

"Of course, additional risks in terms of safety, security and proliferation are there once the programme is expanded to large number of countries and, therefore, India has to actively participate in evolving framework with other member states of IAEA."

Several ideas are being floated and IAEA is also examining many of them, he said.

When pointed out that his idea of "inclusive" partnership, spent fuel reprocessing (closed fuel cycle) and thorium utilisation was welcomed by the international community at the scientific forum on Tuesday, he said "welcoming the idea and adopting are two different things."

"We have to go with less of politics and take ideas of people with lot of experience to have a good impact on the furthering of global nuclear renaissance," Kakodkar added.

Kakodkar refused to directly comment on meeting ElBaradei. He said every year, they meet during the General Conference of the IAEA.

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