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'Safeguarding reactors must for deal'

India must place its nuclear reactors under "permanent safeguards", says US Secy of State Condoleezza Rice.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 18:29 IST

US has said that India must place its nuclear reactors under "permanent safeguards" in order to reach the nuclear agreement between the two countries.

"We would very much like to have a deal. If we don't have one for this trip, then we will continue to work at it," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

She is travelling with the US President on his three-nation visit, which also includes Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Rice also stressed that it was important for India to separate its civilian and nuclear military facilities.

She also clarified that Washington understands that not "every reactor" will be placed under safeguards.

"The key here is that these are big and important issues. And the one thing that is absolutely necessary is that any agreement would assure that once India has decided to put reactors on safeguards, that it remains permanently under safeguards," Rice said.

Replying to a question on Washington's stand on New Delhi's refusal to place its indigenous fast breeder reactors in the civilian list, Rice said, "The key here is that India has to demonstrate that it is prepared to put its civilian reactors under safeguards, and do so permanently."

Us National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said that the nuclear deal was a way of "bringing India within the non-proliferation framework."

Manmohan Singh has expressed hope that the two countries would be able clinch the complex civilian nuclear agreement that ends India's nuclear isolation.

"I sincerely hope, that's my prayer," Singh said in a TV interview.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 13:44 IST