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India's N-chief to attend IAEA meet
Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | September 16, 2007 14:44 IST
Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar will arrive in Vienna on Sunday to attend the annual meeting of the International Aatomin Energy Agency though it is not clear if he will hold talks on India-specific safeguards with the UN atomic watchdog, a key step towards operationalising the Indo-US nuclear deal.
International experts reaching Vienna for the 51st general conference of the IAEA are understood to be keen to know about the opportunities likely to emerge if the Indo-US civil nuclear deal goes through.
Finalising a India-specific safeguards agreement is one of the key steps for operationalising the deal that has been mired in political controversy.
There was no immediate word on whether Kakodkar has received the go-ahead from the government to discuss the safeguards pact with the IAEA.
"He is attending a routine meeting of the IAEA. It is like a ritual," was the refrain of an aide to Kakodkar when he was asked whether the top nuclear scientist has received any directive from the government to discuss the safeguards agreement.
In Delhi, government sources said Kakodkar will have to talk about civil nuclear cooperation with the US if the topic is raised during discussions at technical sessions at the general conference or the scientific forum.
The Left parties, key supporters of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, have threatened to pull down the government if it goes ahead with the deal with "imperialist" America.