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US vows to push through NSG process

Sagar Kulkarni in Colombo | August 03, 2008 16:03 IST

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Buoyed by the International Atomic Energy Agency's approval of the India-specific safeguards pact, the US on Sunday vowed to push through expeditiously the Nuclear Suppliers Group process but said New Delhi [Images] would have to answer a lot of questions to secure a waiver from the 45-nation bloc when it meets later this month.

Describing the IAEA decision as a major step, US assistant secretary of state Richard Boucher told media-persons in Colombo that "now the next step is the NSG."

The 35-member IAEA Board of Governors gave its nod to the India-specific safeguards agreement, a key step to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal, on Friday while the NSG members are expected to meet in Vienna [Images] on August 21 to discuss the matter.

"If we could do that (NSG process) expeditiously we can deliver the package to the US Congress in September. We have a lot to to in short term. We hope we can bring it to fruition," Boucher said.

"Well by the time we get to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, we hope no country will object. It is simply a process we have been working on with countries who had questions and are getting those questions answered," said Boucher, who is in the Sri Lankan capital as an observer to the regional SAARC summit.

Boucher said the US was pleased with the consensus reached on the India-specific safeguards agreement at the IAEA governing body meeting.

"We have been working with the NSG, we have that line going. India has to do some of that ... answer a lot of questions about its nuclear programme and safeguards and separation plan and all those things," Boucher said.

Boucher said the US has been working as a partner with India in taking these matters forward. "Now that the Indian government has worked its way through its political issues we are going to go forward full steam with that."

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