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Kakodkar non-committal on finalisation of IAEA talks
January 15, 2008 17:03 IST
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar remained non-committal on when the 'agreed text', on India specific safegaurds for civilian nuclear power plants with the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be finalised.
"It is a detailed technical exercise and no template exists for it....I would not like to predict on it (when the agreed text could be readied)," said Kakodkar, a day ahead of scheduled talks between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.
Last week, the third round of talks in Vienna failed to ready the agreed text and the next round is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
Originally, the third round was considered to be the final round but there was no agreement on the issue of India's right to hold its strategic reserve to cater lifetime supply to its civilian nuclear plants.
There was also no meeting point on the issue of corrective measures to be undertaken in the event of stoppage of fuel to power plants.
The fourth round is widely believed to be the concluding round, but because of the complexities of negotiations on these crucial issues, there is a possibility that the negotiations may spill over to another round of talks. When asked if the negotiations were taking longer than expected, Kakodkar said; "I wouldn't say so."
He also declined to say if the talks beginning on Wednesday could be the final round of talks with the IAEA.
Kakodkar was speaking on the sidelines of an International Symposium on Neutron Scattering which he inaugurated at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai.
India has to finalise the text only after which the US will be able to negotiate with the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group. The negotiations have to be completed before March to take forward the India-United States civilian nuclear agreement.
The talks, a follow up to the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, are one of the pre-requisites for operationalisation of the deal, first mooted in July 2005. Once the text on safeguards agreement is finalised with the IAEA, it also has to be approved by the UPA-Left committee.
International cooperation in nuclear commerce is possible only after the India-specific safeguards are finalised with the IAEA, followed by a clean and unconditional waiver for India from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers' Group and the vote of US Congress on the 123 agreement.
The first talks on the safeguards were initiated on November 21 last by IAEA Director General Mohammed El-Baradei and Kakodkar.
The talks began after the Left parties, which have opposed the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, agreed to allow the negotiations with the IAEA.