Today's Paper

Manmohan: Left pullout will not affect stability

NSG members supportive of India

We will decide when we go to the IAEA: Foreign Secretary

Sapporo (Japan): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said there was no threat to the government’s stability.

“I don’t think it [Left pulling out] will affect the stability [of the government)]” a confident Dr. Singh said in response to a question by a foreign journalist in a hotel lobby where he showed up at a joint press briefing by leaders of the five Outreach countries, including India at the G-8 summit.

Asked when the government would go to the IAEA to seal the India-specific nuclear safeguards agreement, Dr. Singh said: “We will do it as soon as possible.”

Briefing newspersons on Dr. Singh’s meeting with the Chinese President Hu Jintao, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon said the NSG members India had spoken to so far have been supportive and a clean and unconditional exemption would not be a problem.

Asked about reports from Vienna that the IAEA was meeting on July 28 to clear the India-specific safeguards agreement, he said: “I can’t confirm that because we have not taken a decision.”

He parried all questions on whether the current political turmoil in India would affect New Delhi’s application in IAEA and later the process in NSG.

“I am convinced that what we are doing is right. We have been talking to everybody since 2005 [when India and the U.S. agreed on the deal] and as far as we see we are getting increasing support. We will continue and try to get it done. When it will and whether it will happen is mere speculation nor am I a mind reader.”

To a question, he said no world leader had brought up the political developments in India during discussions on nuclear cooperation.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would ask U.S. President George W Bush when to go to the IAEA, Mr. Menon said: “We will decide when we go to the IAEA and the IAEA will decide when to do its business.”

During the bilateral talks, India and China appreciated the way the ties were growing. The progress made in the discussions on the boundary question came up during the Singh-Hu meeting and the two leaders noted the decision of both sides on the need to continue peace and tranquillity in the border regions. — PTI

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