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Indo-US Nuclear Tango
Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, said no time frame could be fixed for approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency over the nuclear deal.
"We are in touch with the Nuclear Suppliers' Group members. We will approach the IAEA board of governors as soon as we get a clearance," said Menon.
Menon said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] will leave for Tokyo for the Group of 8 Summit on Monday at 8 am.
Dr Singh will meet US President George W Bush [Images] on July 9, and is likely to discuss the progress made in the civilian nuclear deal.
The United States, the foreign secretary said, is committed to getting exemption for India from the NSG for nuclear commerce, and many of the world leaders attending the G8 Summit are also members of the NSG.
Replying to a question on whether a time-frame has been fixed over the nuclear deal, Menon reiterated that it is difficult to put a time0frame to such an issue. He, however, added, "We want to go ahead with the deal and we will as soon as we get the go ahead."
Menon also said that in all likelihood there will be no representative of the IAEA at the G8 Summit in Japan [Images], just like neither IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei nor any other IAEA official was present at last year's summit in Heilegendamm, Germany [Images].
The foreign secretary said the prime minister will stay in Sapporo in Hokkaido. The venue of the G8 Summit, however, is Toyako, about 130 km from Sapporo. During his stay, Dr Singh will meet with the leaders of Outreach Five -- apart from India -- the O5 consists of China, Brazil [Images], Mexico and South Africa.
Three more nations will soon be a part of the Outreach nations -- South Korea, Australia and Indonesia.
The O5 and the G8 will also discuss broader issues facing the world today: world economy, financial structures and adjustments, climate change, energy security, and food security, Menon said.
Developed nations need to limit their emissions, he said, speaking about climate change and the stand that India has taken on the issue.
Menon said that this would only be the second time that a structured dialogue between G8 and O5 on the issues that were discussed at the Heilegendamm Summit in 2007 will take place.
Before the next summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009, he said there were four major topics that needed to be reviewed:
Innovation, which would include technology transfer, etc; Energy efficiency, which would include energy security and environment issues; Development; and Millennium Development Goals.
On the India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, the foreign secretary said, "We are in discussion with Iran and Pakistan. From our point of view, what is important is that the project is economically and commercially viable, that supplies are assured and where the security of the project is guaranteed.
The foreign secretary said apart from these multilateral and bilateral meetings that the prime minister will have, there will also be an informal meeting between the leaders of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia [Images], India and China).
G8 comprises the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada [Images], France [Images], Germany, Italy [Images], Japan, and Russia.
The prime minister will leave for India from Japan on July 9 at 8 pm and will be back in India on July 10 at 0130 am.
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