Saturday, August 23, 2008

N-Deal: NSG meet inconclusive

INDIA WILL have to wait a few more days to get some conclusive stand of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as the crucial two-day meeting of NSG called to consider whether to allow India to conduct civil nuclear trade ended on August 22, 2008 without a decision.

The group is expected to be convened again on September 4, to take a final decision.

After intense deliberations over the move that will end India’s 34-year-old isolation in civil nuclear commerce, diplomats said no final decision could be arrived at. More discussions are required and for that purpose the NSG is expected to be convened again in September, they said.

The meeting was positive.... Many delegates raised some questions and the US is pleased (with that). I remain optimistic and we will continue to make progress, John Rood, leader of the US delegation at the NSG meet told reporters after the two-day discussions.

The discussions remained inconclusive as some members raised questions over the move to grant waiver to India since it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Indications that the decision could be delayed surfaced during the day when US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said in Mumbai that some amendments would be made to the draft waiver moved at the NSG.

Keen on an unconditional waiver from the NSG, India on Thursday held a special briefing for the member countries on the sidelines of the group’s meet to allay apprehensions over 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 nuclear test issue.

Responding to the questions, the Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon cited New Delhi’s impeccable track record on non-proliferation front despite not being a signatory to the NPT. The Indian delegation is 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 ineligible entities.

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

India has made it clear that it is willing for clean waiver, nothing less, while some countries feel that India should be brought into Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and NPT net.

Most of the members of NSG are said to be in favour of Indo-US civil nuclear deal but decisions in NSG meets are taken with general consensus and for that every members concerns are to be addressed.

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