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N-deal: India confident of IAEA approval

July 23, 2008 21:01 IST

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India on Wednesday expressed confidence that the India-specific safeguards agreement will be cleared by the International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors at its meeting in Vienna on August 1.

"We are confident that the draft agreement, which revolves around the separation plan, most likely would become a 'document' after the IAEA board approves it on August 1 through consensus," Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar told PTI, a day after the United Progressive Alliance government won the trust vote that gives it the mandate to push the deal forward.

Before actual operationalisation of the Indo-US deal, India has to get clearance from  the IAEA board and a clean exemption from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group besides the US Congress' approval.

Presently India is banned from nuclear commerce because of the embargo imposed by the US after its first nuclear test in 1974.

Once the IAEA approval is secured, Indian officials would work out the details after which the safeguards agreement would be signed and ratified, Kakodkar said.

India, which has promised to keep 14 reactors under IAEA safeguards to enable nuclear commerce for peaceful purposes, sees no problem at the board although Pakistan seemed to press for voting. The board usually avoids voting.

Asked whether India will be talking to IAEA on a broader nucelar inspection regime before the board meeting this week, Kakodkar said, "Just as India briefed the board and members of the NSG, the IAEA secretariat has arranged a meeting this week and Indian negotiators involved in the agreed text may be present at the meeting."

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