Clearing the decks for commercial operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal after the final seal of approval was stamped at a meeting of the contact group Thursday, the two countries are exchanging signed copies of the administrative arrangements.
The exchange of the administrative arrangements is taking place in Mumbai. The Department of Atomic Energy is the lead agency on the Indian side and the Department of Energy is the American signatory.
“The last policy hurdle has been resolved. Now, the commercial negotiations can start,” a top government source told The Indian Express Friday. This is likely to be the template for India’s nuclear agreements with Japan and Australia.
The administrative arrangements are kept confidential, since it involves details and procedures of nuclear reactors in a country. Sources said that they are kept classified as they pertain to strategic installations in the country — they will have details of nuclear reactors, periodic reporting.
Sources said India and the US have agreed to tackle the “tracking clause” where they will use the data shared with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and keep track of the nuclear material used. This is a legal requirement under US law.
“After the necessary internal procedures, the signed texts are currently being exchanged between India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the US Department of Energy,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
The administrative arrangements — the text was finalised during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in January this year — contain terms and conditions for the implementation of the landmark deal.
Sources said that though the broad contours of the language in the administrative arrangements was finalised in January, diplomats from both sides scrutinised and fine-tuned them.
The government also organised a day-long workshop on the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP) Friday at the MEA headquarters to tell international partners on setting up of the fund as part of the overall risk-management scheme for liability.
Neeru Chadha, Additional Secretary in Legal & Treaties Division, Vinay Kwatra, Joint Secretary (Americas), Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary (Disarmament & International Security Affairs), are some of the MEA officials participating in the INIP workshop.
Also present are officials of Nuclear Controls & Planning Wing (NCPW) of DAE, Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI) and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, United States, Russia and the IAEA.