Govt unveils IAEA safeguards agreement

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New Delhi, Jul 10: The UPA Government under intense pressure from the Opposition and the Left finally unveiled the text of The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement on Thursday, Jul 10.

A day after India presented a restricted nuclear safeguard pact to IAEA Board, Prakash Karat condemned the whole process. "We took the same text a day before from the United States website which was not at all available in India. How sad is that"? CPI-M General Secretary Praksh Karat questioned in the press conference.

We will make it politically impossible for this deal to be passed under this Govt, asserted Karat. Only Manmohan Singh should explain what all transpired between him and Bush during the G-8 meeting. I do not wwant any other Minister talking about it, says Karat.

The text was unveiled only after India gave the go ahead to the IAEA to circulate the draft among its Board of Governors. The entire text of the agreement is posted on the Ministry of External Affairs website.

Main points of the safeguards agreement posted on the MEA website:

- India will place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards to facilitate full civil nuclear cooperation between India and members of IAEA.

- The agreement envisages support for Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the life time of India's reactors.

- India may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies.

- India undertakes that none of the items produced in the safeguarded facilities shall be used for the manufacture of any nuclear weapon or to further any other military purpose. Such items shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not be used for the manufacture of any nuclear explosive device, the draft says.

The safeguards pact, which is the next step in the operationalisation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, was sent to the 35-nation Board on a day when the Left parties formally withdrew their support from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a press statement on Wednesday that the IAEA Secretariat circulated to members of the IAEA board of governors for their consideration the draft of an "Agreement with the Government of India for the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities,"

"The Board Chairman will consult members to fix a date to discuss the draft amid reports that a special governors' meeting will be convened in Vienna on July 28 to discuss the safeguards text," Fleming added.

The draft notes that India "may take corrective measures to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civilian nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies." The phrasing appears to be cracking open the door for India to end IAEA oversight of some facilities.

An annex to the draft meant to list the facilities India is prepared to put under IAEA supervision is left blank.

New Delhi went to IAEA after the G-8 nations and the US President pledged full support to the nuclear cooperation agreement.

The statement said that G-8 nations look forward to working with India, the IAEA, the NSG and other partners to advance India's non-proliferation commitments and progress so as to facilitate a more robust approach to civil nuclear cooperation to help New Delhi to meet its growing energy needs.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while on his tour to Japan had announced that his government would go to the IAEA soon to discuss a safeguards agreement with regard to the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal.

He had also said the government would approach the IAEA "very soon" and once it takes the decision the process in this regard was expected to move "pretty fast".

OneIndia News

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