UPA trying to operationalise n-deal during tenure: Mukherjee

June 4th, 2008 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 3 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was “trying to operationalise” the India-US civilian nuclear deal before the end of its tenure next year. “We are trying to operationalise it before the end of our government’s tenure,” Mukherjee told reporters here during a brief visit to inspect the passport office of the external affairs ministry.

He also said that the text of India specific safeguards being negotiated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “has been finalised and frozen”. Now, the nuclear watchdog had only to formally okay it, he added.

After the agreement with IAEA is concluded, then the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group will have to grant a waiver to allow the resumption of civilian nuclear commerce with India after a 30-year hiatus, he said.

“It is difficult to indicate any specific timeframe,” he said, adding that a meeting of the UPA and the Left parties that support it would take place soon to resolve differences on the deal. The Left parties are vehemently opposed to the deal, maintaining it would compromise on the country’s strategic interests.

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