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India begins negotiations on safeguards agreement with IAEA
Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | November 21, 2007 15:25 IST
India on Wednesday began negotiating the country-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to operationalise the India-United States civil nuclear agreement.
A team of officials led by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar, which arrived on Wednesday morning, is holding talks with IAEA Director General Mohammed ElBaradei and other top officials about the safeguards pact.
"All aspects of the safeguards related to India will figure in the day-long discussions with the IAEA officials," said Kakodkar before heading for the meeting.
The Indian delegation's visit to Vienna was finalised after the Left parties gave a conditional go-ahead to the government to hold talks with IAEA last Friday.
The discussions come a day ahead of the two-day meeting of the IAEA board of governors which would take up implementation issues on current safeguards and technical cooperation projects undertaken by the agency.
The India-specific safeguards pact for all its civilian nuclear plants is expected to be similar to the facility-specific and material-specific agreements India has with the IAEA, official sources said.
In the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty parlance, the India-specific pact will be placed under the agency's safeguards system called Information circular of 1966, they said.
This is in contrast to the INSCIRC 153 meant for those who signed the NPT and non-weapon countries like Iran having 'the additional protocol' which is intrusive in nature.
India can benefit from the safeguards mechanism which are reactor-specific and utility-specific and would be closer to the five nuclear weapon, the sources said.