M A I N   N E W S

Govt’s wish list for Left
Allow us to go to IAEA board, NSG
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 21
The Manmohan Singh government’s wish list for the Left parties is simple: Allow us to go to the IAEA Board of Governors and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The government’s argument is that the Left should not bar the government from reaching the IAEA Board and the NSG for the sake of international relations, as the Indo-US nuclear deal will not be operationalised even after reaching these two goalposts.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is leaving for a stand-alone bilateral visit to Washington tomorrow, will be briefing the American leadership on steps being taken by the government to break the domestic logjam with the Left on the nuclear deal.

The government’s take is that the text of a India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been finalised and lies frozen, can only be initialled after the political process has been completed. For this, the IAEA Board’s nod is mandatory. The government has also pointed out to the Left parties that the IAEA Board may reject the in-principle agreement between India and the IAEA. Moreover, the NSG may also decide against an India-specific waiver.

The government, sources said, has tried to impress upon the Left that the deal would not be operationalised until three things happen - clearance from the IAEA, India-specific waiver from the NSG and approval from the US Congress. Only after the N deal ball is put into these three goalposts, India and the US can be ready to operationalise the deal.

In essence, the government has impressed upon the Left parties not to make haste, particularly in matters where India’s international image is at stake.

The Left parties are yet to come up with their final response on the issue. They are currently studying the text of the India-IAEA in-principle agreement on India-specific safeguards.



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