International Atomic Energy Agency's Director General Yukiya Amano on Monday acknowledged that India was continuing to abide by its commitments under its 2008 safeguards accord with the IAEA.
Certifying India's compliance by using the words “yes” and “no problem,” Mr. Amano expressed the “view that placing more [nuclear] facilities of India under the IAEA safeguards is a good thing.” He did not, however, wish to prescribe a formula by which Pakistan could source China's help in the civil nuclear domain in the present circumstances.
He was responding to The Hindu and Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large, Tommy Koh, on issues relating to India's engagement with the IAEA and the latest moves for a China-Pakistan civil nuclear deal. The IAEA chief was fielding questions after delivering a lecture at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy here. Mr. Koh presided over the session.
Mr. Amano said: “The IAEA's role is to place nuclear facilities and nuclear materials under safeguards. In the case of non-nuclear-weapon states, all the nuclear material and facilities should be placed under the IAEA safeguards. This is a rule. In the case of nuclear-weapon-states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or non-members of the NPT, this rule does not apply. It means that this [aspect] of safeguards is applied facility by facility. It is better that 20 facilities, for example, are placed under safeguards than only 10. This is my view about placing the Indian facilities under safeguards. In the past, seven [Indian facilities] were placed under the IAEA safeguards. After the agreement is completed, 14 will be [so] placed. [However] I do not remember the exact figure now.”
“Pakistan is [also] a non-member of the NPT. Safeguards will apply facility by facility [under an existing Pakistan-IAEA agreement]. On whether to make Pakistan an exception like the Nuclear Suppliers Group did for India, that is a matter of the NSG. That is not something that I can dabble in.”
On whether the IAEA could suggest a model bill on civil nuclear liability by which countries like India could benchmark their relevant legislation, Mr. Amano said “there are several conventions” on this “very complicated issues.”
Tracing the current controversies over Iran's nuclear programme, Mr. Amano, answering questions from other participants during the dialogue session, said he was now seized of the latest Iranian communication to him. “I have some positive reaction from [the IAEA] member-states. We have to consider [the] role of Brazil and Turkey.”