India not to put any nuclear reactor under safeguards of the IAEA

Mumbai: India will not put reactors under International Atomic Energy agency (IAEA) safeguards before it gets a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and U.S. Congressional clearance, the former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, M.R. Srinivasan, said here on Wednesday.

The two are pre-requisites to going ahead with the India-U.S. nuclear deal. The next step is U.S. Congressional approval.

“However, India will not put any of its reactors under safeguards before all these things happen,” Dr. Srinivasan said while addressing a public lecture on ‘Re-entering the international nuclear arena’ at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Advocating a strong political consensus on the issue, he said it was important for India to re-enter the international nuclear arena at this point of time.

“Although we could have got a better deal, the 123 agreement is a good deal one could get and it is not good for India or any other country to remain in isolation as science and technology is truly international,” he said.

In the long run India will benefit as Indian technologies will be in great demand internationally “as we have matured technologies developed ahead of many countries,” he said.

“Even America incorporates new ideas from smaller countries like Finland and Korea and technology society is mature enough to live with the rest of the world.”

Presiding over the function, the former AEC chairman, Homi N. Sethna, said: “I do not think the 123 agreement will go through all its ramifications for the next few months and if it happens, it will be by October; if we are very lucky by April and May 2008.”

“In the meantime, politicians of both countries and the non-proliferation lobby will make ‘hulla gulla’ (noise). But [the] sooner we get it, the better. It is for good relations between the two countries.” Dr. Srinivasan said the UPA-Left committee, formed to discuss the 123 agreement, should not delay its work to reach some positive agreement since “by any chance if the agreement does not get Congressional clearance during 2008 when President Bush is in office, the non-proliferation pundits may start introducing new elements into the agreement which may be even less acceptable to India.” — PTI