US wants to seal n-deal with India by year-end: Stratford

US wants to seal n-deal with India by year-end: Stratford

Vienna: The US, which is to brief the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the civil nuclear deal with India, wants to seal the agreement by the end of this year, a senior American official said here today.

“The US wants to meet the entire pre-requisites of the operationalisation of the deal by the end of this year," Richard J K Stratford, Director at the Office of Nuclear Energy Affairs in the US State Department, told PTI.

He said the US will try to impress upon the NSG member nations the need for clean and unconditional exemption sought by India for nuclear trade under the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

A closed-door meeting of the NSG has been convened by the US on the sidelines of the 51st General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) here.

“I will explain to the members how both India and the US arrived at the agreement and also put forth the conditions asked by India for a clean, unconditional exemption (from NSG rules to enable nuclear commerce)," said Stratford, who is the Head of the US delegation to the NSG.

He admitted that it could be a tough job. “But we will try to do it, and I am optimistic."

“We are also going to tell about the safeguards issues which India has to sort out with the IAEA," Stratford said.

Meanwhile, when asked what would India do if the NSG countries did not agree on change in its guidelines to allow international trade with New Delhi, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar told PTI “we have our own programme. It will continue. The civilian cooperation with US is only an additionality for a near-term requirement."