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IAEA safeguards pact complex: Kakodkar
Lalitha Vaidynathan in Vienna | November 22, 2007 18:49 IST
Indian negotiators continued their discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency for the second today on a safeguards agreement, which the Atomic Energy Commission chief said was "complex" and has to be worked out.
The discussions at the international atomic watchdog proceeded even as the US ambassador to the agency expressed confidence that his country's civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India would be implemented.
Anil Kakodkar, who initiated the process of discussions with the IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei on Wednesday on an India-specific safeguards agreement as a follow up of the deal with the US, left for home leaving other negotiators to continue the job.
"The safeguards issues are a serious business involving complex issues. We have to work out all these," he told PTI before his departure.
Observing that Wednesday's meeting set out a broad outline of the complex issues, he said, "We have to take up all the issues related to it." He declined to elaborate.
The Indian representative on the IAEA's Board of Governors Sheelkant Sharma said the talks would continue on Friday.
Ravi B Grover, director, Strategic Planning Group of the Department of Atomic Energy, is among the other officials participating in the discussions with the IAEA team that includes Olli Heinonen, deputy director general, Department of Safeguards, and Vilmos Cserveney, director, External Relations and Policy Coordination.
India approached the IAEA after the Left parties cleared the move on the condition that the government should not initite it but bring it back to the Left-United Progressive Alliance Committee.
The American Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schultz told a press conference in Vienna that once the atomic watchdog agreed to endorse the safeguards pact, several countries will come forward to back the nuclear deal between India and the US.
"Once the India-specific safeguards is approved by the IAEA board, then it goes to the Nuclear Suppliers Group for getting exemptions for India for civilian nuclear programme," Schultz said.
He said the Indian negotiators, who will remain in Vienna after the return of Kakodkar to India, would carry out further consultations with the nuclear watchdog and then a special board meeting can be convened by the chairman of IAEA board for the approval of the safeguards agreement by consensus.
The 45-member NSG wants the safeguards agreement to be approved by the board to carry out the further process, he said.
NSG had a consultative meeting in Vienna last week in which an increasing number of countries was preparing to give exemption for India.
The European Union and Russia [Images] were already supporting India in this regard and South Africa, which is currently heading the NSG, may also extend support.
The NSG will also hold a special meeting if required before March once the IAEA board approves India-specific safeguards agreement, observers said.