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NSG resumes discussions on waiver to India

Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna | August 22, 2008 16:37 IST

Amid suggestions by some of its members for certain amendments in the draft waiver, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group met in Vienna [Images] on Friday for the second day to consider whether to allow India to have civil nuclear cooperation with the international community.

The grouping resumed its discussions over the issue that is a key step in the implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Indo-US nuclear deal.

Representatives of the member countries deliberated upon various ideas and suggestions put forth by some of them during the discussions on the first day of the two-day meeting on Thursday.

Some even proposed that certain amendments may be made to the draft and gave ideas in this direction, sources said without elaborating or identifying the countries, which did so.

'Clean waiver for nuclear deal is a fantasy'

The meeting was constructive and none of the countries said they were against the waiver, the officials said.

The US, which moved the draft at the meet, is pushing hard for the initiative and hopes that the NSG would give its nod.

Leader of the American delegation Under Secretary John Rood, who sought the support of all NSG countries, said Washington continues to believe that it is an important issue and "we are committed to achieve this as it has net benefit for nuclear non-proliferation and energy."

'We can pull it off at NSG'

Keen on an unconditional waiver from the NSG, India had held a special briefing for the member countries on the sidelines of the grouping's meet to allay apprehensions over the initiative.

Three countries -- Switzerland [Images], Austria and New Zealand [Images] --  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.

Experts ask NSG to reject India-specific exemption

Responding to the questions, the Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon cited New Delhi's [Images] impeccable track record on non-proliferation front despite not being a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Indian side also ave pointed out that India already has in place strict export control rules to prohibit transfer of nuclear technology and fuel to ineligibleentities.

India holds special briefing for NSG members

Considering the sensitivity involved in granting the waiver, the NSG is unlikely to finalise its decision at its meeting today and a second round of discussions is expected to be called in early September to deliberate on it further.

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

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