New Delhi: Indian and American nuclear energy officials have held a second round of discussions aimed at setting up a dedicated national nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in India that will handle US-supplied nuclear fuel. The discussions come ahead of a visit by Indian prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Washington in November as the Obama administration's first state guest.
It's being given to understand that both India and the United States made considerable headway in the second round of talks held in Vienna last week and have agreed to meet again early next month in a bid to wrap up negotiations before Dr Singh arrives in Washington on 24 November.
|Tarapur nuclear plant in India|
These talks commenced in July this year and, under the provisions of the Indo-US civil nuclear treaty, both sides have until a year to conclude negotiations over what is referred to as 'Arrangements and Procedures' regarding reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
Under Article 6 of the 123 agreement US recognises India's right to reprocess imported fuel. In turn, India has agreed to set up a dedicated national reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards.
Under existing provisions both sides agree that talks would start within six months of either side initiating the request and would have to conclude within a year. This process has already been initiated with talks starting in July.
Though both sides have until July of next year to conclude negotiations it is felt that the upbeat nature of bilateral relationships under the Obama administration ought to be capitalised upon and negotiations concluded at the earliest to time with Dr Singh's Washington visit.