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India wants clean NSG waiver: Mukherjee

August 29, 2008 15:53 IST

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In an apparent dilution of its stand on securing exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India on Friday said it is seeking a "clean" waiver from the 45-nation grouping.

"We have made it quite clear that we are interested in clean waiver from the NSG. We have presented our case. We have made our position clear to interlocutors," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in Delhi [Images].

He was responding to whether India was getting an "unconditional" waiver from the NSG after demands for amendment to the draft waiver.

Mukherjee, unlike the earlier comments, did not talk about India's insistence on the "unconditional" waiver.

New Delhi has all through maintained that the exemption should be "unconditional" failing which it will not accept it.

Soon after the August 21-22 meeting of the NSG failed to arrive at a decision on granting waiver to India because of objections by several member countries, Mukherjee had said India would not accept any "prescriptive conditions" in the revised draft.

This stand was maintained despite the US asking India not to talk about "unconditional" waiver as it was "provocative" and could create difficulties.

The US has been saying that it was trying for a "clean exemption". Mukherjee's comments came amid indications that a number of amendments have been made to the revised draft that will be presented at the NSG meet on September 4-5 in Vienna [Images].

Speaking on the sidelines of foreign ministerial meeting of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation in Delhi, Mukherjee said India is working through interlocutors (US) and directly with the NSG countries to garner support for the exemption.

"We shall have to wait for final outcome, which will be available to us after September 4-5 meeting," he said.

At the last meeting of the NSG, at least 15 countries, including New Zealand [Images], Austria, Norway, The Netherlands and Switzerland [Images], sought changes in the draft and proposed amendments so that the waiver addresses their concerns with regard to non-proliferation issues.

The sceptic countries were particularly insisting on incorporating clauses, which would deny India enrichment and reprocessing rights and automatically end cooperation if New Delhi were to carry out a nuclear test.

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