It recognises our autonomous nuclear programme: Kakodkar

A. Kakodkar

A. Kakodkar  

Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar has described the draft accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a broad umbrella agreement that recognises India’s “autonomous and indigenous” nuclear programme, free from any safeguard.

The non-hindrance provision in the draft excludes from the safeguards any Indian activity using Indian research, know-how, material and components independently for its own purpose, Dr. Kakodkar pointed out at a press conference here on Thursday.

This was a de facto recognition of India as being a nuclear weapon state, free to pursue its own atomic weapons development with no interference from the IAEA. It was not a comprehensive safeguards agreement. But, as its title suggests, it was about safeguards to civilian nuclear facilities.

Dr. Kakodkar pointed out that the IAEA safeguards were applicable only to those facilities India would declare voluntarily as civilian. What was civilian and what was not would be the decision of the Government of India.

He said the task now was to convince the member-states of the IAEA Board of Governors and secure ratification. The AEC chairman parried a question whether he expected any member to express reservations or seek amendment to any provision in the draft. “We are seeking approval of the Secretariat of the IAEA,” he said.

Did he see the necessity to amend the Indian Atomic Energy Act in response to the provisions of the Hyde Act? “We will ensure that Indian interests are protected,” he replied.

India’s three-stage nuclear power programme would be implemented and there would be no compromise on that.

The new opportunities would bring in additional ties.

He said that the agreement allowed India to stockpile nuclear material to meet the lifetime fuel requirement of imported reactors, reprocess the spent fuel and follow its closed fuel cycle programme to get the full benefit of the imported fuel.

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