Manmohan positive about Indo-US nuclear deal’s future

November 20th, 2007 - 8:18 pm ICT by admin  

By Naveen Kapoor
On Board Air India One, Nov 20 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today admitted that there is some delay on the operationalisation of the US-India civil nuclear deal, but expressed hope about it being successfully concluded to the satisfaction of both India and the United States.
Dr. Singh said negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for a safeguards agreement related to the bilateral deal would be undertaken sometime this week. He was referring to a meeting between IAEA chief Mohammad El Baradei and Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar in Vienna.
“I hope it can be brought to successful conclusion, then we will bring it back to the UPA-Left mechanism,” Dr. Singh told reporters while en route to Singapore to attend the ASEAN summit.
Last week, the Left leaders gave the green signal to the government to approach the IAEA for holding talks on an India-specific safeguards agreement related to the 2005 US-India civil nuclear pact.
Dr. Singh also cleared the mist over Russian plans to build four nuclear power reactors in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu.
He said he had had talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on this during his recent visit to Moscow, and informed him that Russia could not go ahead with the plan until the India-specific safeguards was received from the IAEA and the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) ratified it.
“We thought it will be premature to sign an agreement, which cannot be operationalised,” Dr. Singh said.
When President Putin visited India in January 2007, India signed a Memorandum of Intent for the construction of four nuclear power reactors in Kudankulam.
In fact, In October this year, when Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov visited New Delhi, he had said that the pact would be finalised during Dr. Singh’s November visit to Moscow.
However, Singh and Putin did not come up with the much-awaited comprehensive bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact during their Summit-level discussions in the Kremlin on November 12.
India was expected to sign a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Russia, which would have expanded the present nuclear collaboration between the two countries. The pact was also expected to have a separate component on the construction of four additional nuclear units in Kundankulam, Tamil Nadu.
The Indo-US nuke-deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America’s Congress well before the next year presidential polls.
Three more steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguard agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group’s charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress. (ANI)

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