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China, Pak may abstain in case of IAEA vote
August 01, 2008 13:11 IST
The India-specific safeguards agreement, crucial for the landmark India-United States nuclear agreement to move forward, is expected to be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors in Vienna [Images] on Friday amid indications that China and Pakistan may abstain in case there is a vote.
The crucial one-day meeting will see statements delivered by the Indian and US Ambassadors to the IAEA as well as by the nuclear watchdog's Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.
With the US and India going all-out to get a comprehensive backing of the 35-member Board of Governors of the IAEA and its inspections plan by consensus, IAEA sources indicated that the approval process may not face any hurdles.
Pakistan's attempts to force a vote seems futile after the US nudged Islamabad [Images] not to block the approval or seek amendments.
IAEA sources said the safeguards text is likely to be approved by a consensus but in the highly unlikely event of a vote, China as well as its ally Pakistan may well abstain.
Lobbying hard for the safeguards text, the US has said that the pact was a net gain for global non-proliferation, placing India's declared civilian nuclear energy plants--14 of 22 existing or planned reactors--under regular IAEA watch.
US Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory L Schulte said the pact was sound.
Nicholas Burns, one of the architects of the nuclear deal, said in Washington, "My conviction is that this deal strengthens the non proliferation regime...it makes India a stakeholder."
Atomic Energy Commission Chief Anil Kakodkar and other top nuclear officials are in Vienna for negotiations on the safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol to be cleared by the IAEA and to convince members of the Nuclear Supplier's Group to give New Delhi [Images] a 'clean' waiver for implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
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