IAEA Board to consider India inspection agreement on Aug 1

July 15th, 2008 - 6:35 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, July 15 (DPA) The governing body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will meet on Aug 1 to consider adopting India’s nuclear inspection agreement with the IAEA, the organization’s press office confirmed late Monday. The 35 member states of the IAEA Board of Governors are currently reviewing the draft of the so-called Safeguards Agreement that would give the Agency’s inspectors access to Indian civilian nuclear reactors.

India’s greater transparency is part of its nuclear agreement with the United States, under which New Delhi has agreed to separate its civilian nuclear energy sector from the nuclear weapons programme. In return, the US would provide nuclear fuel and technology for atomic energy production.

Western diplomats in Vienna and non-proliferation advocates in the US have voiced concern that the safeguards agreement allows India to take unspecified “corrective measures” if its nuclear fuel supply were interrupted.

One European diplomat said it would be “an escalating measure rather than corrective measures” if it meant India could cease IAEA inspections after nuclear supplies ended, possibly in the wake of an Indian nuclear weapons test.

India is set to brief IAEA Board members on the Safeguards Agreement Friday, a source close to the Agency said.

India’s United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government faces a confidence vote in parliament on July 22 over the nuclear deal with the US. Communist parties say the pact would compromise India’s strategic sovereignty.

After the IAEA Board approves the inspection agreement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group will have to change its export control rules, as India is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Only then will the US Congress ratify the nuclear pact with India.

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