Government begins internal review of IAEA draft pact

March 13th, 2008 - 12:52 am ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Days before the UPA-Left meeting on the nuclear deal, the government Wednesday began a preliminary review of India’s draft pact reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), aimed at convincing its allies about the effectiveness of the pact. Ravi B. Grover, head of the Strategic Planning Group of the Department of Atomic Energy who lead the Indian delegation to Vienna, briefed members of the Atomic Energy Commission, headed by Anil Kakodkar, on the India-specific safeguards pact with IAEA.

This will be followed by a series of high-level discussions within the government on the specifics of the draft agreement that acknowledges India’s unique status as a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but still wishes to resume global civil nuclear commerce.

The pact seeks to accommodate fuel guarantees and India’s right to take corrective action in case of disruption in fuel supplies, which find mention in the 123 India-US bilateral agreement.

The government will subject its IAEA draft pact to a stringent scrutiny before it shares the same with its Left allies at the next United Progressive Alliance-Left meeting, likely March 17.

The Left allies are likely to question the government’s claim on securing fuel guarantees, as the IAEA technically cannot act as a guarantor of fuel.

The Left parties, opposed to the nuclear deal, have to endorse the pact before the government can proceed with the deal.

The India-US nuclear deal appears headed for an indefinite delay with the government indicating that it is not yet ready to force the issue with the Left parties - a move that can force an early election on the country.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat has said that the Left parties will take two to three months to finalise its assessment of the India-IAEA pact.

With the clock ticking away for the nuclear deal, the US has reminded India that it must conclude its pact with the IAEA by May to pave the way for a change in guidelines by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) so that the deal can be ratified by the US Congress by July.

The deal, which aims at restoring global civil nuclear commerce with India after three decades, can become operational only after a change in NSG guidelines and a ratification of the 123 pact by the US Congress.

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