In a special session today, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved unanimously the draft of a nuclear safeguards agreement between India and the IAEA. Federal Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave the following statement today (1 August):
"The Federal Government welcomes the decision of the IAEA Board of Governors and the Indian government to further efforts to bring India into the system of nuclear non-proliferation.
With the approval of the safeguards agreement, India has taken an important step towards the global non-proliferation regime. Thus, in the future, more civilian nuclear facilities will be under the control and safeguards system of IAEA.
According to the assessment of Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA, the safeguards agreement meets the standards of the IAEA and thus contributes to enhancing the international non-proliferation system. For the Federal Government, this assessment carries particular weight, as the IAEA is the "guardian of the non-proliferation regime".
Mohamed ElBaradei also expressed the IAEA's expectation that facilities placed under IAEA jurisdiction will remain under permanent IAEA control. We emphatically share this expectation.
At the same time, we hope to see further progress in the area of nuclear non-proliferation. India, for example, is one of a group of countries whose ratification is essential for the nuclear test ban treaty to take effect. A moratorium on the production of fissile material for military purposes would also be desirable."
In 2005, the US and India signed a political declaration of intention on civilian nuclear cooperation. One component of this US-Indian pact was the need for an Indian safeguards agreement with the IAEA. The IAEA's verification agreements are significant for several reasons. For one, they are instrumental in maintaining technical safety standards for the civilian use of nuclear energy; they also constitute a central assurance for the exclusively peaceful use of IAEA-controlled nuclear facilities.