Indo-US Nuclear Agreement and IAEA Safeguards

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  • October 2005

    Nuclear transfers to a non-nuclear weapon state (NNWS) are conditioned on IAEA safeguards on all current and future peaceful nuclear activities, what are called the full-scope safeguards (FSS) or comprehensive safeguards. Since India is a NNWS according to the NPT definition, the NSG Guidelines as currently implemented would, therefore, invoke FSS if India seeks nuclear technology or nuclear power plants – even on a turnkey basis – or nuclear fuel from any NSG membercountry. The condition for any progress on the deal is the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities that India has committed to and the sequencing of the reciprocal steps envisaged in the agreement. This seems quite feasible if the Indian policy-makers are clear about India’s need of fissile material in quantitative terms. A properly negotiated INFCIRC/66 type safeguards agreement and Additional Protocol with the IAEA is also possible without compromising on India’s strategic programmes and national security. Finally, IAEA is likely to treat India as a nuclear weapon state and apply safeguards selectively so as not to unduly burden its scarce funds and skilled human resource.

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