IAEA chief backs Indo-US nuclear deal

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New Delhi, Oct 10: Visiting International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei today came out in strong support of the Indo-US nuclear deal and said that he would like to see New Delhi managing to come out from the restrictions imposed by the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

After meeting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, ElBaradei said, "I would like to see India have access to the state of the art, modern nuclear technology and make full use of it."

"India cannot continue to be sidelined. I would like to see India as a full partner," he added.

He termed his talks with Mukherjee as fruitful, and said that the talks centred on various developments taking place globally.

ElBaradei's visit to New Delhi gains significance in the wake of the UPA Government acceding to the Left Front's demand of not initiating formal talks with the international agency on India-specific safeguard agreement till October 22.

ElBaradei, who reached here from Mumbai this afternoon said he was happy to move ahead on the safeguards agreement once the Indian government decides on the issue.

He also said that there was no time frame for discussions to begin.

"There is no time limit, as and when the government takes a decision we will be ready," he said.

ElBaradei is scheduled to meet Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon on Thursday and would also meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later.

The 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner is on a five-day visit to India.


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