New Delhi, Mar 21 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said though New Delhi has arrived at an understanding on the text regarding India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it can only be ''initialled'' after the political process has been completed.
On the eve of his visit to Washington, where he will meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mr Mukherjee said, ''Some text has been reached, which only needs to be initialled, and that waits for the political process.'' To a question whether he felt disappointed that the whole process had taken more then six months and he was unable to convince the Left, the Minister said there is no question of disappointment and it is a question of recognising ground realites.
''I am in the process of the dialogue (with the Left) and I don't know what will be the outcome, '' he said in an interview to CNN-IBN.
He denied that there was any difference between him and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding going ahead with the deal without the Left.
In direct contrast to the Left Front's contention that the nuclear deal would be ''operationalised'' when the IAEA safeguard agreement is signed, Mr Mukherjee said, ''The deal will be operationalised only after the IAEA, the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) and the US Congress give their approval and the Indian government then signs the agreement.'' When asked whether it would be an embarrassment for the country to stop the deal or turn away from it he said, ''It's not a question of disappointment or otherwise expressing any sentiment- it's a question of doing a thing. If we can do it, we will do it. If we can't do it we can't do it. Prime Minister once told you and you should not forget it that after all life is not coming to an end.'' UNI SB MSJ KN2201