No time frame can be fixed to operationalise nuke deal:Pranab

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Chennai, Jun 3 (UNI) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the Congress-led UPA government ''is trying to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal before the end of its term''.

Talking to newspersons here, he said no time frame could be fixed to operationalise the deal as ''we have only completed the first stage by signing the 123 agreement and three more stages to be completed''.

''It is difficult to indicate any specific time, but we are trying to operationalise the deal before the end of UPA term,'' Mr Mukherjee said even as the Left parties continue their stout opposition to the deal.

Stating that three more stages have to be gone through before the deal was concluded, he said in the second stage, India specific nuclear safeguards agreement has to be approved by the governing board of International Atomic Agency (IAA).

In the third stage, the guidelines have to be amended in the Nuclear Supplying Group (NSG), which comprised 45 member countries and in the fourth stage, the US Congress has to give its ratification for the deal, Mr Mukherjee pointed out.

The UPA-Left Committee would meet again to discuss the deal and thrash out the differences, he said, when asked what was the progress on the deal.

UNI VV/WS SP RAI2144

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