IAEA chief ElBaradei meets Kakodkar

November 14th, 2007 - 1:55 am ICT by admin  
ElBaradei, who arrived here on Monday night on a four-day visit, met Kakodkar at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre.

He inspected the BARC facility and had lunch with nuclear scientists.

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the Left parties asking the Congress-led UPA Government not to go ahead with the talks for the India-specific agreement with the IAEA that are needed for the operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Though Government has said that India has not initiated any talks on the issue, formally or informally, the meeting assumes significance.

Sources in the External Affairs Ministry have said for an India-specific agreement with the IAEA, the Government would require more time.

The Left parties, which provide crucial support to the UPA Government at the Centre, have asked the government against negotiating with the IAEA to place India’s civilian nuclear reactors under IAEA safeguards, one of the first steps towards making the deal operational.

India is facing an informal October-end deadline to begin securing clearances from the IAEA and others to clinch the deal. This led UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asking senior Left leaders to allow the Government to begin informal negotiations with the IAEA on Monday evening.

However, the Left has rejected the UPA’s suggestions.

The IAEA chief will be in New Delhi on Wednesday. He might also visit Taj Mahal in Agra. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to meet ElBaradei on Wednesday. n Thursday, ElBaradei is expected to join Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a lunch at his 7 Race Course residence.

Earlier today, the UPA-Left Committee on Indo-US nuke deal, which met in Delhi today and held discussions, has decided to meet again on October 22.

After the meeting, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Committee Convener, said the two sides shared their perception on various aspects of the deal. (ANI)

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