IAEA chief makes strong pitch in India for nuclear deal
(Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog head, Mohamed ElBaradei , made a strong pitch for the India-U.S. nuclear deal on Wednesday saying it was essential for India's economic growth, despite concerns a domestic row could scupper the pact.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief met Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee amid threats from the Indian government's leftist allies to withdraw crucial parliamentary support if the deal, which would open international civil nuclear cooperation with India after over three decades, moves ahead.
Both sides pulled back from the brink in talks on Tuesday, easing fears of imminent elections but raising worries the government was endangering the accord with prolonged debate.
"... the agreement is something for the government to decide but as I said, I'd like to see India become a full partner in the nuclear field and I'd like to see India make use of every technology," ElBaradei told reporters after the meeting.
"Without energy, and not just nuclear energy, but all sources of energy, you will not be able to attain a 10 percent rate of growth," he added.
On the contentious issue of India beginning talks with the IAEA for an agreement to place civilian nuclear reactors under U.N. safeguards, ElBaradei said there was "no deadline" for this.
Earlier end-October was seen as an informal deadline for these talks.
The left parties have said if these talks are started -- which would be the next step in what is seen as a year-long process to implement the deal -- they would withdraw their support to the federal coalition, reducing it to a minority and leading to elections ahead of the 2009 schedule.