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India Looks to Conclude Talks with IAEA on Nuclear Deal


Indian officials say they hope to complete talks with the United Nations nuclear agency this month on the country's landmark nuclear deal with the United States.

India's foreign secretary told reporters Friday that Indian officials have held three rounds of talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency. He said the discussions are proceeding smoothly, and that they hope to have a final round in the middle of January in Vienna.

Under the civilian nuclear deal, India would submit some of its reactors for U.N. monitoring in exchange for nuclear fuel and technology from the U.S. The pact must be approved by the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which sets guidelines for international nuclear trade.

The agreement also must be approved by the U.S. Congress, which faces a tight legislative calendar ahead of presidential elections in November of this year.

India's proposed nuclear deal with the U.S. is facing stiff opposition from India's communist politicians. They say the agreement would undermine the country's independent foreign policy and nuclear weapons program.

The communists have threatened to withdraw their support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition government if the deal is approved.

India has tested its nuclear weapons and has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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