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Negotiate safeguards agreement with IAEA, US to India
Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | September 16, 2007 21:04 IST
The US on Sunday said it was "important" for India to negotiate a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to operationalise the nuclear deal even as Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar remained tightlipped on whether he would hold talks with the UN nuclear watchdog.
"I will not speak anything on it now," Kakodkar, who arrived in Vienna on Sunday to attend the annual meeting of the IAEA, told PTI at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna.
He was asked whether he would hold talks with IAEA on the country-specific safeguards agreement or had received any directive from the government on proceeding with the discussions.
Finalising a India-specific safeguards agreement is one of the key steps for operationalising the deal that has been mired in political controversy with the Left parties threatening to withdraw support to the government if it goes ahead with the negotiations with IAEA.
Nudging India to fulfil its obligations under the nuclear cooperation agreement, US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in Vienna: "It is important that both India and the US complete these processes by working with IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers' Group."
He was answering a query whether India can become a party to Global Nuclear Energy Partnership when it develops a dedicated facility for reprocessing under the deal.