India makes public safeguards agreement circulated to IAEA

July 10th, 2008 - 1:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) India Thursday made public the text of its safeguards pact that was circulated among the members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretariat, which will approve the India-US civilian nuclear deal. The 25-page draft of India’s text on application of safeguards to civilian nuclear facilities that was given to the IAEA board of governors was put up on the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) website.

A day earlier, the IAEA said in a press release issued at the agency headquarters in Vienna that board chairman Muhammad ElBaradei would consult with board members to agree on a date for a meeting when the agreement would be considered.

The draft India-specific nuclear safeguards accord was circulated to the nuclear watchdog’s board of governors for approval following a “request” from the Indian government, said the release.

The safeguards pact is the next step in the operationalisation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. It was sent to the 35-nation board on a day when the Left parties formally withdrew support from the United Progressive Alliance government.

“At the request of the government of India, the IAEA Secretariat today (Wednesday) circulated to members of the IAEA board of governors for their consideration the draft of an ‘Agreement with the Government of India for the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities’,” IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

“The chairman of the board is consulting with board members to agree on a date for a board meeting when the agreement would be considered,” she added.

In the nuclear agreement, India had classified 14 of its 22 atomic reactors as civilian, which will be covered under the IAEA safeguards agreement.

India is expected to seek an early conclusion of the agreement with the IAEA in view of the US Congress’ desire to see progress on it before the senate approves a change of law to allow nuclear trade with New Delhi.

The IAEA serves as the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology.

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