India to brief IAEA on safeguards agreement

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New Delhi, Jul 18: India will brief the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna on the India-specific safeguards agreement without which the Indo-US civil nuclear deal cannot be operationalised.

The briefing will be confined to IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) nations on the importance of India's nuclear deal with the US. It will be conducted by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. The other members of the Indian delegation include the chief negotiator of the India-IAEA draft safeguards agreement R B Grover, who is also the Director, Strategic Planning in the Department of Atomic Energy, and Indian Ambassador in Vienna Saurabh Singh.

After securing IAEA's approval, India would go for the NSG's approval, a group of 45 states that export nuclear fuel and technology. After this, an approval from the US Congress would also be required.

It is expected that informal consultations among the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors will take place on the India-specific safeguards agreement on or around August 1.

An IAEA Board of Governors meeting to build a consensus on the India-specific safeguards agreement is essential to help implement the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

A meeting was to take place on July 28, but this has been postponed.

Under the agreement, India will place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards to facilitate full civil nuclear co-operation between India and members of IAEA.

The agreement also mentions that India will have to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities. India will also have continuous access to fuel supplies.

The agreement envisages support for Indian effort to develop a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime 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.

ANI

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