Saturday, September 6, 2008

India gets a clean NSG waiver finally

THREE-DECADE-old nuclear isolation of India came to an end on Saturday (September 6) when the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) passed by consensus a “clean waiver” to start nuclear commerce with India. There were no “major changes” in the draft. The language and wordings worked on by the US were acceptable to all NSG members.

The US had earlier consulted India on the changes brought about in the wordings of the draft, and put it before the NSG members only after New Delhi’s approval.

A formal announcement will be made shortly in Vienna, by the chairman of the 45-member powerful cartel that controls the global supply of nuclear fuel and technologies.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was part of Friday’s late night consultation with the Americans on the changed language in the draft, apprised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the developments in the NSG on Saturday morning.

The NSG’s decision to grant India a “clean waiver” from its existing rules, which forbid nuclear trade with a country, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), came after three days of intense diplomacy by the US in the nuclear cartel.
External affairs minister declared the decision historic and said this will start a new chapter for nuclear cooperation. Mukherji said that the draft is in tune with the commitment given by the PM in Parliament. The prime minister and main architect of the deal expressed his happiness over the development and thanked members of NSG. President Bush earlier called prime minister to talk over the issue.

Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India, Anil Kakodkar, and assured that the right of test has been preserved and there is no mention of test in the final draft. He assured that nothing is in the draft that India cannot accept.

Along with government technicians, officials and scientists from all over country expressed happiness over the NSG waiver. This waiver means India can now trade with different countries to meet its demand of nuclear fuel for reactors to produce energy.

Now the 123 Agreement will go for approval to US Congress.