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India's N-chief in Vienna for IAEA meet

July 30, 2008 14:59 IST

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Indo-US Nuclear Tango

Ahead of a crucial International Atomic Energy Agency meeting on Friday, India's top nuclear official arrived in Vienna on Wednesday for negotiations on the safeguards agreement and an additional protocol to be cleared by the United Nations atomic watchdog and to convince Nuclear Suppliers Group members to give New Delhi [Images] a "clean" waiver for implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar will begin his talks a day after the US circulated a draft note prepared by it for the 45-member NSG that has left New Delhi unhappy as it did not make a mention of either testing or Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, sources said.

After the Board of Governors meeting on August 1, the US is planning to circulate the final note to the NSG members to consider India's demands.

Kakodkar will have a series of meetings to ensure a smooth sailing at the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors and NSG, the sources said.

He is expected to hold talks with all NSG members during his stay to bring them on board for giving India a "clean and unconditional waiver" ahead of the group's first meeting early next month. India is a member of IAEA, but not the NSG.

Kakodkar told PTI he would take part in all discussions including the negotiations that are underway on an additional protocol with the IAEA.

India began consultations with the IAEA this week to draft a template of an India-specific 'additional protocol' for inspection of its civilian nuclear power plants as per the Indo-US statement on civil nuclear cooperation of July 2005.

There is a possibility that the Board of Governors might insist that the India-specific "an additional protocol" is also signed along with the safeguards agreement to enable inspection of those nuclear units declared by New Delhi as civil, according to the experts.

The India-specific safeguards agreement is an umbrella accord and the additional protocol, which New Delhi will be negotiating in detail, will be specific to the country.

The IAEA agreement will form the basis for approaching the NSG for a waiver to India, which will allow the country civil nuclear trade for the first time in 34 years.

As per a separation plan unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] in March 2006, 14 out of 22 of the country's nuclear power plants will be under IAEA safeguards and eligible for inspection.

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