Mumbai: India will begin another round of talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna from Monday to negotiate the safeguards agreement, a prerequisite for the India-US nuclear deal.
The Indian delegation, led by R.B. Grover, a senior official in the department of atomic energy, reached Vienna on Sunday for the talks, which are expected to go on till month-end.
Officials said Indian negotiators and the IAEA team are also keeping the agency’s board of governors updated on the progress of the consultations so that it would be easier when it is officially taken up by the board. But it is not known whether the issue will be taken up during the board meeting beginning 3 March.
India and IAEA have held four rounds of talks in Vienna since November last year, in addition to several informal consultations to work out a new template on safeguards, specifically for India.
Pressing India to speed up implementation of the nuclear agreement, the US had recently said the negotiations with IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should be wound up by May, failing which India would not get a similar deal.
Unfazed, India said it was a complex issue and the negotiations would take some time to conclude.
“We have to get this done at the earliest, but it has to be correctly done and it has to meet all the requirements and so it’s a long technical process,” Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had said. “There are several steps involved. We have to move step by step.”