NSG resumes discussions on waiver to India

ID :
Sat, 08/23/2008 - 07:40

NSG resumes discussions on waiver to India

Vienna, Aug 22 (PTI) Amid suggestions by some of its members for certain amendments in the draft waiver, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (N.S.G.) met here Friday for the second day to consider whether to allow India to havecivil nuclear cooperation with the international community.

The grouping resumed its discussions over the issue which is a key step in the implementation of the Indo-US nucleardeal.

Representatives of the member countries deliberated upon various ideas and suggestions put forth by some of them during the discussions on the first day of the two-day meetingThursday.

A "lot of ideas" were exchanged yesterday, diplomats andofficials said.

Some even proposed that certain amendments may be made to the draft and gave ideas in this direction, they said withoutelaborating or identifying the countries which did so.

The meeting was constructive and none of the countriessaid they were against the waiver, the officials said.

The US, which moved the draft at the meet, is pushing hard the initiative and hopes that the N.S.G. would give itsnod.

Leader of the American delegation Under Secretary John Rood, who sought the support of all N.S.G. countries, said Washington continues to believe that it is an important issue and "we are committed to achieve this as it has net benefit for nuclear non-proliferation and energy." Keen on an unconditional waiver from the N.S.G., India Thursday held a special briefing for the member countries on the sidelines of the grouping's meet to allay apprehensionsover the initiative.

Three countries -- Switzerland, Austria and New Zealand -- raised questions during the briefing asking why the exemption should be made for India which is not a signatory to NPT. They also voiced their apprehensions over the nucleartest issue.

Responding to the questions, the Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon cited New Delhi's "impeccable" track record on non-proliferation front despite not being a signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty(N.P.T.).

The Indian side also understood to have pointed out that India already has in place strict export control rules to prohibit transfer of nuclear technology and fuel to ineligibleentities.

Considering the sensitivity involved in granting the waiver, the N.S.G. is unlikely to finalise its decision at its meeting today and a second round of discussions is expected tobe called in early September to deliberate on it further.

Sources said the representatives of the respective member countries will take back home the outcome of the deliberationsto get approval from their governments.