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N-deal: UPA-Left meeting postponed
May 26, 2008 20:26 IST
The meeting of UPA-Left Committee on nuclear issue, scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed, putting back further a decision on whether India should sign the safeguards agreement with IAEA.
The meeting is now expected in the first half of next month.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the convenor of the committee, said the meeting has been deferred due to "unavailability of some members" of the panel.
The meeting, eighth since November last, was to discuss whether India should sign the safeguards agreement with IAEA, negotiations for which have already been concluded.
Due to the postponement, India will miss a possible chance of discussing the safeguards agreement with IAEA Board of Directors at its scheduled meeting early next month.
The board has to approve the agreement that has been reached between IAEA and India.
The government is racing against time to ink the agreement, which is a key step in implementation of the nuclear deal with the US, as it wants to conclude the process during the tenure of Bush Administration.
After signing the agreement with IAEA, India has to seek a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group before the final vote on the deal in the American Congress.
The four Left parties, which provide crucial outside support to the government, have, however, warned against signing the agreement without their nod.