T.S. Subramanian

CHENNAI: Anil Kakodkar, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, on Thursday firmly denied an agency report that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was holding negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on arriving at India-specific safeguards in the wake of the 123 nuclear agreement between India and the United States.

“We straightaway deny it,” he told The Hindu when asked about the PTI report from Mumbai, which quoted “a top source” in the DAE as saying, “Since the process has to go on, we are holding consultations as we cannot wait till the last moment to make the agreed text ready, which is the pre-requisite for the draft agreement.”

Dr. Kakodkar, who is also the Secretary, DAE, said, “It [the PTI report] is wrong. It is not correct. We deny it.”

The report also quoted the DAE source as saying that with the intricacies involved in the negotiations on the safeguards issue, “it is expected that simultaneously several things had to be taken up and thus we have to go ahead with the continuous discussions/negotiations with the IAEA officials.”

“I am not holding any talks at all [with the IAEA]. There are no formal discussions at all,” Dr. Kakodkar asserted.

Informed sources said Mohamed El Baradei, IAEA Director-General, was coming to India next week at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Hindustan Times too had invited Mr. Baradei to take part in its conclave. The IAEA chief would be in New Delhi on October 10, 11 and 12, during which he would meet the Prime Minister.

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