India on Monday said its decision to ratify the additional protocol to Indian specific safeguard agreement was a “signal” that the country will abide by its international obligations.
“Let me confirm to you that the government has decided to ratify the additional protocol to Indian specific safeguard agreement. We had signed this earlier, what we have decided is to take next step of ratification. This is a signal of our commitment to abide by our international obligations,” the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.
The commitment to ratify the agreement was given under Indo-US nuclear deal by the previous dispensation to grant greater ease to IAEA to monitor India’s civilian atomic programme. The additional protocol was ratified last week and this has been conveyed to the Vienna-based IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the global watchdog of nuclear activities.
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The IAEA had in March 2009 approved an additional protocol to India’s safeguards agreement consequent to a pact reached with the agency the previous year to place its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.
That agreement had paved the way for the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to grant India-specific waiver for it to have commercial relations with other countries in the civilian atomic field. The waiver was necessary as India, despite being a nuclear-armed state, is not a signatory to the NPT.
The ratification is a signal by the Narendra Modi government to the world, particularly the US, that it is serious in continuing to implement the Indo-US nuclear deal. This assumes significance since Modi is scheduled to travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama in September.