India's Additional Protocol for nuclear safeguards has been brought into force after the country handed over the instrument of ratification to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The protocol supports the sharing of more information between India and the IAEA about nuclear power plants and work with nuclear fuel materials. It covers a list of nuclear facilities that was agreed in 2008 under then-prime minister Manmohan Singh, but its implementation stalled in the last few years of his premiership.
Having taken power in late May, new prime minister Narendra Modi ratified the protocol on 24 June, and India's ambassador to the IAEA, Rajiva Misra, handed the document to IAEA director general Yukiya Amano on 25 July. From that day the additional protocol was in force.
India is in a unique position partly because it has consistently refused the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) on the grounds that nuclear weapons are essential to its regional security. After shunning the treaty in 1968, India then went on to develop an indigenous nuclear power industry. Other countries' safeguards measures were subsequently built on top of NPT commitments and so later, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) made comprehensive safeguards a prerequisite for international nuclear trade, India was left isolated.
An international process to end the isolation was led by the USA from mid 2005, which spurred development of the special safeguards arrangement for India, as well as an exception under NSG rules followed by a round of bilateral nuclear cooperation deals.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News