Vienna: Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar met International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei and discussed the indigenous civil nuclear programme but there was no reference to Indo-US nuclear deal.
Kakodkar hosted lunch for ElBaradei and chiefs of atomic energy commissions of some countries on the sidelines of the 51st General Conference of the UN nuclear watchdog here.
“We talked about India’s partnership in several programmes of the IAEA, especially on the Innovative Nuclear Cycle Programme which has immense potential to lead to a global enhancement in the availability of safe and economical nuclear energy,” Kakodkar said here on 20 September.
Asked whether the India-specific safeguards agreement came up for discussions, he said “such topics are not discussed over lunch.”
When referred to the political controversy over the deal back home, he said, “I did not discuss politics”.
Kakodkar said he told ElBaradei that it was ”extremely important” to have equal partnership in development of new kind of reactors which are proliferation resistant.
The US has convened a special meeting of the NSG to brief them about the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
Asked what would India do if the NSG countries did not agree on change in its guidelines to allow international trade with New Delhi, Kakodkar said “we have our own programme. It will continue”.
Meanwhile, ElBaradei’s office said India has not approached the IAEA for talks on the safeguards agreement.
Representatives of several countries at the IAEA and chairmen of various atomic energy commissions attended the lunch hosted by Kakodkar.
India must begin key negotiations with the IAEA if a nuclear deal that New Dehli recently signed with United States is to go ahead.
The agreement will allow India to buy atomic fuel, technology and plants from the US even though it is not party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The US, which is pushing hard to implement the deal, is expected to explain in detail the importance of change of NSG guidelines to allow international nuclear trade with India.
In the backdrop political sensitivities back home, Kakodkar is unlikely to attend the meeting.