Government to discuss IAEA pact before UPA-Left meet

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

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) Ahead of the ruling United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA) meeting with Left allies on the nuclear deal, the government is set to start a series of internal reviews of the India’s safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Wednesday.
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) official Ravi B. Grover, who led the Indian delegation for the negotiations with the IAEA at Vienna, will brief the 11-member Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), headed by Anil Kakodkar, Wednesday, official sources said.

This will be followed by a series of high-level discussions within the government on the specifics of the draft of India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA that seeks to accommodate fuel guarantees granted to India under the 123 India-US bilateral agreement.

The government will subject the IAEA draft pact to close scrutiny before it shares the draft with its Left allies at the next UPA-Left meeting, likely March 17.

The Left parties, who are virulently opposed to the nuclear deal, have to endorse the pact before it can proceed with the deal.

The nuclear deal appears headed for a prolonged 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 White House has underlined that India must conclude its pact with the IAEA by May so that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group can decide on amending rules of global nuclear commerce in favour of India.

The US has also stressed that the US Congress must ratify the deal by July before it is swamped by election-year politics.

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

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