IAEA supervision of a dedicated fuel facility may be the key
There has been a lot of chatter in the news media in India all weekend that extended negotiations between the U.S. and India over exchange of nuclear technologies are drawing close to a deal. The latest is that the negotiators agreed to a text, but that political reality has to be tested before it is released. Several sources say that U.S. VP Dick Cheney was heavily involved in the discussions.
The Times of India gave this report on Sunday.
Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and US Undersecretary of State Nicolas Burns held tough discussions to resolve differences on issues like reprocessing right for India and fate of the deal if New Delhi were to conduct nuclear tests in future.
National Security Advisor M K Narayanan also met Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and US National Security Advisor Stephen P Hadley.
The differences had arisen after India insisted on the right to reprocess the spent fuel which the US was reluctant to agree. India last month offered to set up a dedicated reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards, which apparently helped break the logjam.
The next step in the U.S. will be to test the waters in Congress. Intense lobbying is expected by Boeing and other firms that see the potential for 'offset' deals for jet aircraft, and other big ticket items, along with nuclear reactors. When India signed a nuclear deal with Brazil earlier this summer, it included the purchase of a fleet of regional jets.