ElBaradei calls on PM, but no discussion on nuke deal

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New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here, but is understood to have avoided any discussion on the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal in the face of the threat to the survival of the UPA government.

Instead, Dr Singh and Mr ElBaradei were said to have exchanged views on the growing demand for energy and importance of nuclear power in this context.

There was no word from either the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) or the IAEA chief about their meeting held at Dr Singh's official residence at 7 Race Course Road.

Mr ElBaradei has gone on record expressing himself in favour of lifting the nuclear restrictions against India to help the country meet its mounting energy requirements.

The IAEA chief, who is on a five-day visit to India, has already met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the 15-member panel on the nuclear issue to thrash out the differences with the Left parties, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar and other officials.

After meeting Mr Mukherjee yesterday, he had said he wanted India to make full use of atomic energy for sustaining its high growth economic growth rate.

For resuming nuclear trade with the US and other members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, India has to finalise New Delhi- specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

However, the Left parties have asked the government not to hold even informal talks with the IAEA before addressing their concerns over the nuclear deal, which they maintain undermines India's independent foreign policy and security options.


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