Boucher visit to focus on deal

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher will undertake a two-day visit here from Tuesday during which the two sides are expected to review progress on implementation of the civil nuclear deal. Mr. Boucher, who is in charge of South Asia, will hold talks with his counterpart, Gayatri Kumar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, and is expected to meet Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, sources told PTI on Sunday. The civil nuclear agreement issue is likely to dominate the discussions and the Indian side is expected to provide an update on its talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the safeguards agreement. After the fifth round of negotiations between India and IAEA that concluded in Vienna last Thursday, the two sides reported "considerable progress' and moved closer to the agreed text of the agreement. Finalisation of the safeguards agreement with the IAEA is a key step towards operationalisation of the India-U.S. nuclear deal. This has to be followed by the waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) to allow India to have civil nuclear cooperation with the international community. The government is expected to spell out its plans on the issue in Parliament on Monday when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee makes a statement. The sources said that Mr. Mukherjee, who would be making the statement on