India to brief IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna tomorrow


Mumbai, India : A scaled-down briefing by India for the IAEA on the safeguards agreement and other aspects of the Indo-US nuclear deal will be held tomorrow at a place outside the UN atomic watchdog’s premises in Vienna.

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The briefing, which will be confined to IAEA’s 35-member Board of Governors and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) nations, will be conducted by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, ahead of the Board’s scheduled meeting on August one to reach a consensus on giving a waiver to India to do civilian nuclear trade.

“There is a briefing scheduled on Friday afternoon at a location outside the IAEA. The invitation was distributed by India to Board members,” IAEA spokesperson Melissa Fleming told PTI late last night in an email message.

Besides Menon, the other members of the Indian delegation include the chief negotiator of the India-IAEA draft safeguards agreement R B Grover, who is also the Director, Strategic Planning in the Department of Atomic Energy, and Indian Ambassador in Vienna Saurabh Singh.

At the briefing, Menon will speak about the importance of the Indo-US civilian nuclear initiative while citing the country’s impeccable track record on the non-proliferation front despite it not being a signatory to Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Once the IAEA Board reaches a consensus on the agreement, it will be taken up by the 45-nation NSG to give an exemption for nuclear trade. This meeting will possibly be held next month, sources said.

After that is done, the Indo-US deal will be placed before the US Congress for its approval in September before the accord is actually operationalised, the sources said.

Out of the 35 nations in the nuclear watchdog’s Board, 26 are NSG members and the remaining NSG countries have also been invited for the briefing to seek a waiver for India to do civilian nuclear trade.