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We want waiver for India at NSG: France
Sovi Vidyadharan in New Delhi | June 13, 2006 13:02 IST
France has stated that it will continue to press for waiver of restrictions on India at the Nuclear Suppliers' Group. It has also dismissed suggestions that its nuclear dealing with India was 'predicated upon' the successful passage of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement in the US Congress.
"We would like to clarify that the Franco-Indian nuclear co-operation declaration, which was signed this February, is not predicated upon or linked to successful passage of the Indo-US nuclear deal by the Congress," Dominique Girard, French Ambassador to India said.
Girard's remarks assume significance as India and the US formally launched negotiations on Monday on the bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement.
"What happens to the Indo-US nuclear deal is a bilateral matter between both countries and it is not a condition for furthering our nuclear relation with India," he said. "We, on our side, are fully convinced regarding India's stand on the separation of its civilian and nuclear facilities and its commitment on use of nuclear material."
Asked what stand France would take on waiver of restrictions on India with regard to supply of nuclear fuel by the 45-member NSG and the Interanational Atomic Energy Agency, Girard said his country would 'wholeheartedly back' any effort by India in its 'legitimate quest for nuclear energy'.
"In fact, our support for India in the field of civilian nuclear energy preceded the Indo-US nuclear agreement," Girard pointed out.
"However, we would like India to effectively address the concerns of certain sceptical members of the NSG regarding the opening up of its (nuclear) facilities (to international inspections), its separation plan, use of nuclear fuel and safeguards," he said.
"Though many countries like the US and UK support waiver of restrictions, bodies like the NSG work on consensus and the need to evolve that is very crucial," Girard said.
Girard said he believed India would be able to 'successfully convince' members of the international community and 'mobilise support' from other countries in this regard.
Asked about China, which has not yet come out with its stand on a waiver for India at the recently-concluded NSG meeting in Rio de Janerio, Girard said Beijing has its 'own concerns' and said 'it was for them to decide what future stand they would take'.
"We are absolutely and totally for a waiver for India at the NSG. It will be good for the international community to have India, a country with a good nuclear track record, to be gifted with a new status," he said.
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