Our Bureau

New Delhi, Aug. 2

The CPI(M) on Saturday said the provisions of the Hyde Act are deciding the final shape of the Indo-US nuclear deal and not the assurances given by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to Parliament.

Civilian facilities

Stating that it has now become clear that 14 Indian civilian nuclear facilities will come under perpetual IAEA safeguards from 2009, the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) in a statement said: “That the interpretation of the Indian Government regarding the “corrective measures” mentioned in the preamble of the safeguards agreement providing for a check against disruption of fuel supplies does not hold has been made clear by the IAEA.”

The party pointed out to the introductory statement made by the IAEA Director-General, Dr Mohamed El Baradei, to the Board of Governors where he had said: “As with other safeguards agreements between the agency and member states, the (Indian) agreement is of indefinite duration. There are no conditions for the discontinuation of safeguards other than those provided by the safeguards agreement itself. The termination provisions contained in the agreement are the same as for other 66-type agreements.”

This would mean that the safeguards agreement can only be terminated under the standard termination conditions contained in Articles 29 and 32 of the agreement, implying that nuclear facilities can be withdrawn from safeguards only after these facilities are no longer usable for any nuclear activity, the CPI(M) said.

The Polit Bureau statement added: “This belies the Prime Minister’s assurance in Parliament that India’s civilian nuclear facilities would be put under perpetual IAEA safeguards only under the strictly reciprocal condition of uninterrupted fuel supply guarantees.”

So, neither does the 123 agreement with the US provide any such fuel supply guarantee nor can the IAEA ensure uninterrupted fuel supply as it is only a monitoring agency, the party said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 3, 2008)
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