ID :
Sun, 09/07/2008 - 11:23
Auther :

N.S.G. parleys inconclusive, another round today

Ajay Kaul

Vienna, Sept 6 (PTI) Consensus eluded the N.S.G. for a
clean waiver for India with China joining a clutch of
countries having strong reservations but the U.S. maintained
that "significant progress" was made and remained optimistic
over securing the crucial exemption.

Two days of marathon talks remained inconclusive and
fresh discussions have been scheduled later Saturday.

Five rounds of 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.

"We are pleased with the significant progress made
throughout the day. India released a very significant
statement with regard to its non-proliferation commitments.

"That statement made substantive positive impact on the
governments of the N.S.G. that sincerely facilitated the
progress that we achieved Saturday," U.S. Acting Under
Secretary for Arms Control Affairs John Rood told reporters.

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

Western diplomats, who did not want to be identified,
said the negotiations, which were scheduled only for two days,
remained inconclusive in the wee hours and would resume later
in the day.

The U.S. battled hard overnight to clinch the
India-specific waiver for India from the N.S.G. with diplomats
moving back and forth poring over a revised draft.

China appeared to have raised concerns that put
roadblocks in the way of a consensus.

Suspense mounted over the fate of the revised draft
which was under discussion at the nuclear club with Indian and
U.S. officials going over the changes sceptic countries like
Austria and New Zealand insisted on incorporating.

As parleys spilled past midnight on changes to
woo countries like Austria, Ireland and New Zealand, the U.S.
and Indian officials worked on amendments to the draft.

The N.S.G. takes decisions by consensus and a holdout by a
few countries can jeopardise an immediate waiver for India.

Austria, which was among a couple of countries
holding out, gave enough indications that "more work still"
needs to be done that will enable India cross a major hurdle
in operationalising the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.

"Some work still needs to be done. A number of mirror
images need to be added to the current talks and ideas in the
draft...we want to have more effective and qualitatively
improved security architecture," said Peter Launsky, an
Austrian foreign ministry official.

Launsky said some "auxilliary measures" required to be
incorporated in the crucial document.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said late
last night in New Delhi that "efforts are continuing to evolve
a consensus in the N.S.G."