India, US narrow down differences on proposed Nuke agreement

Iran Materials 16 June 2006 16:36 (UTC +04:00)

(IRNA) - The Indian and US negotiating teams held intensive discussions here for three days and were able to "narrow down their differences on a number of draft provisions" of the proposed agreement on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

After three days of official-level talks which concluded Wednesday, New Delhi said the two countries now had a "much better appreciation of their respective legal and political positions" with regard to the proposed bilateral agreement, also called 123 agreement, reports Trend.

"It may be mentioned that the two sides covered a range of issues in their discussions in a forward-looking and constructive spirit," Navtej Sarna, Spokesperson External Affairs Ministry told reporters here, Thursday evening.

"The progress we have achieved so far makes us confident that we would be able to arrive at a text that conforms to our well-known positions, which are reflected in the July 18 Joint Statement and in India's Separation Plan" tabled in Parliament on May 11, he said.

Pending issues will now require internal consultations on both sides with a view to jointly formulating a draft which meets with the approval of both sides, he said.

The two sides have agreed to meet at an early date once their follow-up internal consultations have been completed.

The official-level talks were held on the basis of drafts exchanged by the two sides last month in London.

The Indian draft takes as its "starting point, the Indo-US Joint Statement of July 18, 2005 and the elements contained in India's Separation Plan, which was laid on the table of both Houses of Parliament on May 11," Sarna said.

At the talks, the Indian side was led by S Jai Shankar, Joint Secretary (America) in the External Affairs Ministry, while the US delegation was headed by Richard Stratford, Director of the Department of Energy.

The Indian delegation also comprised officials from the Department of Atomic Energy while the US side included representatives from the State Department and Bureau of Security and Non-proliferation.