Friday, October 2, 2009

Don’t expect India to sign NPT in present form: IAEA chief

India today found an unexpected supporter from Mohammed ElBaradei chief of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its opposition to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

In an interview to a private television channel, he said he did not expect India to sign the NPT but felt the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty could be more acceptable to New Delhi.

“I don’t expect India to sign the NPT in its present form. Maybe, the CTBT would be more acceptable,” said ElBaradei, who was presented with the prestigious Indira Gandhi award for peace, disarmament and development for 2008 by President Pratibha Patil earlier in the day.

His remarks assume significance in the wake of the United Nations Security Council adopting a resolution asking all non-NPT states, including India, to sign the NPT. India has made it clear that it will not sign the pact as a non-weapon state as atomic arsenals are integral to its security.

The chief of the IAEA said India has to lead efforts for complete nuclear disarmament, an idea it first mooted back in 1948.

ElBaradei said the world was looking at India for the future of nuclear energy research and development, according to a press release issued by the news channel.

Reacting to the reports saying that Iran was developing a secret uranium enrichment plant, he said Tehran was “on the wrong side of the law” by not declaring its plans when construction began.

Meanwhile, seeking international cooperation in its efforts for a major expansion in the nuclear programme, India today said benefits of atomic energy should not remain confined to a "privileged few" as it was vital to meet power requirements of developing countries.

"We need the concerted and collective efforts of the international community to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy as widely as possible," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a function where ElBaradei was conferred the coveted Indira Gandhi Peace Prize.

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