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India gears up for nail-biting finish at NSG meet
September 03, 2008 16:51 IST
Amid continued reservations of some member countries over granting waiver to India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group will hold a crucial two-day meeting in Vienna [Images] on Thursday to consider the initiative.
The NSG will consider a draft which is being presented before the 45-nation grouping after amendments, following demands by at least 15 countries during the August 21-22 meeting.
Countries like New Zealand [Images] and Austria, which are still not satisfied with the revised draft, are expected to voice their concerns over non-proliferation issues.
Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango
On studying the draft circulated to them by Germany [Images], the current Chair of the NSG, these countries feel that the amendments in the text are only cosmetic in nature and conditions are not attached.
China, too, appeared on Monday to be joining the skeptic countries when the Communist Party's mouthpiece 'People's Daily' described the Indo-US nuclear deal as a 'blow to non-proliferation'.
However, the Chinese government indicated that it will not block the initiative.
India, on the other hand, has maintained that if conditions are attached to the waiver, it could walk away.
India and the US are hoping that the 45-nation grouping would have a consensus on giving the exemption at this meeting to enable the American Congress some time to have a final vote on the nuclear deal.
Ahead of the meeting, the US has been campaigning hard for the exemption for India, arguing that it would be good for the world.
The NSG works by consensus and even if one country opposes the waiver, the move will be scuttled.
Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, who is in the US, will travel directly to Vienna. He will be joined by R B Grover, director, strategic sffairs in the Department of Atomic Energy, and some other officials of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Though India is not a member of the NSG, the delegation led by Menon will be camping in Vienna to meet envoys of the NSG countries, if necessary, to make further efforts to persuade them.
Indian officials said that while all efforts will be made to allay the apprehensions of the skeptic countries, India will not accept the waiver if it is laden with conditions.
India says the revised draft should be able to address the apprehensions that some of the countries have.
New Delhi [Images] maintains that if any country has any non-proliferation issues, those can be sorted out with them when bilateral agreements are signed.
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