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Modi government agrees to give greater access to nuclear watchdog

PTI 23 Jun 2014, 10:31:03 AM IST
New Delhi: Signalling the continuity of policy, the new government has ratified the Additional Protocol, a commitment given under Indo-US nuclear deal by the previous dispensation to grant greater access to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor India's civilian atomic programme.

The Additional Protocol was ratified last week and this has been conveyed to the Vienna-based IAEA, the global watchdog of nuclear activities, sources said.

The IAEA had in March 2009 approved an additional protocol to India's safeguards agreement consequent to a pact reached with the agency the previous year to place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.

That agreement had paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant India-specific waiver for it to have commercial relations with other countries in the civilian atomic field.

The waiver was necessary as India, despite being a nuclear-armed state, is not a signatory to the NPT.

The ratification is a signal by the Narendra Modi government to the world, particularly the US, that it is serious in continuing to implement the Indo-US nuclear deal.

This assumes significance since Modi is scheduled to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama in September.

The sources pointed out that India wants to send a strong signal to the international community that it is a "serious and responsible" nuclear weapon state amid its keenness to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG.