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The IAEA safeguards agreement explained

July 15, 2008
Ever since India sent the text of its agreement with the IAEA to the agency's board of governors, a lot of questions have been raised.

Even with the text being made public, the questions and accusations of what India can do and what it can't have failed to subside.

Last Saturday, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, Department of Atomic Energy secretary Dr Anil Kakodkar, and India's chief negotiator with the IAEA Dr R B Grover met journalists and answered the persistent questions about the India-IAEA draft agreement.

Some of the pertinent technical questions were:
1. Can India test?
2. Will India's reactors be under perpetual safeguards, even if fuel supply stops due to some reason or the other?
3. What about the Hyde Act, which seeks to put a lot of restrictions on India?
4. What will happen to India's Intellectual Property Rights (its nuclear know-how)?
And the one political question:
5. Did the government hoodwink the Left and go to the IAEA behind its back?
The experts gave lucid explanations to all these questions (India can test, perpetuity of safeguards is tied with perpetuity of fuel supply, India's technical know-how is safe and no, the UPA did not cheat the Left) and more.

Text: Krishnakumar P
Image: (Left) National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon
Photographs: Atta Kenare and Manpreet Romana/AFP/Getty Images

Also read: The Indo-US nuclear deal explained

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