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IAEA Chief Addresses India Safeguards Agreement

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, during the Friday press conference. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

During a press conference today, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei spoke to international media regarding the IAEA Board of Governors approval of the India Safeguards Agreement. Following are excerpts from the press conference.

"The Board of Governors this afternoon adopted by consensus the agreement to apply safeguards to civilian nuclear facilities in India. I believe the agreement is good for India, is good for the world, is good for non-proliferation, is good for our collective effort to move towards a world free from nuclear weapons. What the agreement does is bring India closer to the debate on our ultimate goal, which is the goal of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - to establish a world free from nuclear weapons.

"I have always maintained that if we were to move forward toward strengthening non-proliferation to reduce the nuclear weapons arsenal, toward moving to a world free from nuclear weapons, that dialogue has to be universal and inclusive. We cannot exclude from that debate India or Pakistan or Israel - the three countries who remain outside the NPT. These represent 20% of the world´s population and they have to be included.

"India committed itself to harmonize its laws on export controls with those of the supplier group. That´s very important because one of our main goals continues to be that nuclear material will not fall into the wrong hands.

"India has 1.1 billion people. They need a tremendous amount of electricity for development. India is the fifth largest consumer of energy, and will be the third largest consumer of energy by 2030. The option of not making full use of nuclear energy is to continue to rely even more heavily on coal and gas and oil, with the impact of course on climate change. Allowing India to make full use of nuclear energy and state of the art technology, is also again good for the world. It ensures safety, security and development.

"I look at the agreement from a big picture, and the big picture is that I hope the agreement will reignite the debate on nuclear disarmament. It would hopefully create a new environment of partnership - and not of isolation - that will bring India together. A concrete result of that would be a comprehensive moratorium by all States that have nuclear weapons not to test at any time in the future, until the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty comes into force, which I hope will happen soon.

"I hope it will also lead to a moratorium on production of any nuclear material for weapons purposes, until we have the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in force.

"The India Safeguards Agreement could have, if properly implemented, a lot of positive implications, development implications, security implications, non-proliferation implications, and arms control implications. I have been supporting the agreement from day one and am very happy today that I see that my judgment has been certified by the Board in approving the agreement by consensus."

Last update: 27 Jul 2017

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