Next India-IAEA meeting in January to sort out country-specific safeguard issue

Mumbai, Dec 28 | Updated: Dec 29 2007, 07:10am hrs
Notwithstanding opposition by Left parties, India will have its next meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna in January to sort out a few sticky issues on India-specific safeguards being negotiated with the global nuclear watchdog to operationalise the Indo-US atomic deal.

Assurances with regard to perpetual fuel supply is one of the main safeguards issue on which negotiations remained inconclusive during the last meeting held early this month, a senior atomic energy department official said on Friday adding this would be taken up in the January meeting.

The dates for the January meeting, which will be the third round of negotiations between India and IAEA, will be finalised after the Christmas vacations.

The Indian negotiators from the department of atomic energy and ministry of external affairs said they would ensure that Indias concerns are fully addressed including guarantees for perpetual fuel supplies and a strategic fuel reserve for its nuclear power reactors.

The negotiations are expected to be a time consuming process as it was for the first time this kind of an agreement is being worked out, the officials said.

Officials also said as there is lot of ambiguity in the 123 agreement text, the exact parameters of the assurances of supply, matters relating to spent fuel reprocessing, suppliers right to ask for return of supplied materials and equipment as well as the specific corrective measures in the context of perpetuity commitments needed to be clearly spelt out.

The negotiations between India and IAEA began on November 21.