ID :
Sun, 09/07/2008 - 10:49
Auther :

N.S.G. resumes parleys on India waiver

Ajay Kaul

Vienna, Sept 6 (PTI) The Nuclear Suppliers Group
(N.S.G.) held fresh round of unscheduled discussions on grant
of a waiver for India on Saturday after marathon parleys on
Friday failed to produce a consensus with China joining a
clutch of countries having reservations over the move.

Diplomats from 45 countries constituting the nuclear
cartel were engaged in hectic and tough negotiations, picking
up the threads from where they left at the end of five rounds
of deliberations that spilled over to wee hours of the day.

Originally the discussions were to conclude on the
second day Friday but reports Friday night said the Chinese
were unhappy over the draft and joined the 'hold out'
countries Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland and Ireland
demanding further changes in the draft.

The marathon deliberations on the second day saw
diplomats and officials burn the midnight oil to hammer out a
consensus that is needed to take the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal
forward after facing last minute hurdles.

The sceptic countries are keen that the draft waiver
should make a reference to the consequences that could follow
in the event of India conducting a nuclear test.

The N.S.G. functions on the principle of consensus in
decisions that it takes.

However, U.S. acting Under Secretary of State for Arms
Control John Rood told reporters at the end of the second day
of discussions that "We are pleased with the significant
progress made throughout the day. India released a very
significant statement with regard to its non-proliferation

Rood said Mukherjee's statement made substantive
positive impact on the governments of the N.S.G. that
sincerely facilitated the progress that they achieved on

He said the U.S. remained committed to reaching a
consensus at the 45-member N.S.G. to allow for the trade in
civilian nuclear area.

"It is an important matter, a serious subject that has
been given a very serious discussion by our colleagues. I
remain optimistic that we can achieve our objective," he

The 'hold out' countries were said to be insisting on a
set of conditions if India conducted an atomic test. These
included termination of trade, stoppage of transfer of
enrichment and reprocessing technology and yearly review of
the agreement.

India, however, is opposed to any conditionalities
being put for grant of waiver and would not countenance any
prescription that would take away its sovereign right to test
a weapon.

N.S.G. rules prohibit nuclear commerce with India since
it refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and
the comprehensive test ban treaty.