Safeguards agreement meets India’s needs: IAEA chief

August 1st, 2008 - 8:20 pm ICT by IANS  

By Mehru Jaffer
Vienna, Aug 1 (IANS) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammed El Baradei Friday said the Indian safeguards agreement not only meets all “legal requirements” of the agency but would also bring most of the Indian nuclear facilities under “full scope” safeguards over the years. Addressing the IAEA board of governors as they began their meeting to consider the India-specific safeguards agreement for the India-US civil nuclear deal, the UN nuclear watchdog head said: “In the case of the draft before you, it is an ‘umbrella agreement’, which provides for any facility notified by India to the agency in the future to become subject to safeguards.”

“The ‘umbrella’ nature of this agreement provides a more efficient mechanism for ensuring that safeguards requirements can be met,” he said, adding, “It satisfies India´s needs while maintaining all the agency´s legal requirements.”

At present Indian nuclear facilities are not subjected to “full scope” safeguards or inspection by the IAEA.

But the IAEA director general tried to argue before the 35-members of the IAEA board of governors that if they approve the Indian safeguards agreement it would bring most of the country’s facilities under the agency’s scrutiny.

As part of the Indian separation plan, barring six all the other 14 nuclear facilities will come up for “full scope safeguards” by the IAEA.

Alluding to the existing INFCIRC/66-type safeguards agreement that provides for the application of safeguards to “specific facilities or other relevant items,” he said these “66-type agreements” were not “comprehensive or full-scope safeguards agreements”.

In simple terms, it means that India, which with Pakistan and Israel makes the only three countries in the world that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, had an arrangement with the IAEA under “66-type agreement” that allowed them to have a “facility specific” arrangement for the agency’s supervision and inspection. After the approval of the India-specific safegaurds pact, India will need not enter into facility-specific inspection arrangement with the IAEA.

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