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India talks tough on NSG waiver

August 30, 2008 12:39 IST

Ahead of the meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, India has said it will not accept the waiver from the 45-nation grouping if the 'red lines' set by it are crossed.

National Security Adviser M K Narayanan made it clear that inclusion of any clause on testing, periodic review or denial of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the text of the NSG waiver would be unacceptable and hoped a way around these issues would be found through diplomatic efforts.

'India's demands are too unreasonable for NSG'

"What we are really asking is, there are certain issues on which there are certain red lines drawn by us because those are the commitments that had been made by our Prime Minister," he said during a TV interview.

"On red lines we cannot, that's what we told our Parliament -- that these are sacrosanct and if these are not met we cannot endorse the agreement," Narayanan said.

India wants clean NSG waiver: Mukherjee

Asked to comment on some NSG member countries' position that the cooperation should be terminated if India were to conduct any test, Narayanan said the usage of word testing would not be acceptable to India.

"We have always made the point that testing is a word that we find difficult to adjust to not because of anything else but because that is what Parliament has mandated us to do."

"I presume testing will be difficult for us to do, so we will find ways around it. We are clear that whatever we finally agree to in NSG should be something that we can sell to Parliament," the National Security Adviser said.

View: Nuclear deal in dire trouble

He, however, expressed confidence that a way out would be found on this issue through creative diplomacy.

"Hopefully we will find a way on it. I think it will be possible for us to surmount some of these obstacles," he said.

On demands for exclusion of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the NSG waiver, he said it would not be acceptable to India.

 NSG: Do not discard the baby with the bath water

Emphasising that India does not want to be singled out, he said "NSG does not have a ban on enrichment and reprocessing technology transfer per se... unlike the US, none of the countries have ban in their countries (on transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology)."

"We don't want some countries' individual predilections to be performing part of huge package of items in the NSG," Narayanan said.

 N-deal: We are not there yet

He said if any country does not wish to give enrichment and reprocessing technology and still wants to do nuclear commerce with India "we will draw up guidelines according to

He also ruled out the possibility of accepting periodic review of the waiver. "It is uncalled for. We have put all the cards on the table. We have been as transparent as anyone else. We are willing to make our case before the NSG. We do not understand the need for the review mechanism," he said.

 'Clean waiver for nuclear deal is a fantasy'

The National Security Adviser noted that the exemption was being granted for civil nuclear cooperation, which involves commerce, investing money on long-term basis of up to 30-40 years. "If we have periodic reviews, they (investors) will say it should not be done."

He said India has already flanked its concerns. "Our concerns are well known. I think most of the countries recognised the validity of our concerns. There are some countries who I think are ideologically committed to their concepts of non-proliferation and hence tend to take a sort of hardline position on this.

 Coverage: The Indo-US nuclear deal

"I think it is a question of convincing them that India, with an impeccable record in terms of non proliferation and the fact that it has always stood for universal nuclear disarmament, is a right candidate for nuclear commerce," he said.

Recognising that some countries have problems with the grant of waiver, Narayanan said India will have no objection if some of their views are reflected in the statement of the NSG Chair "as long as it does not inhibit us from what we believe is clean and unconditional waiver."

 NSG waiver may take time: US

Asked whether he was confident of getting a clean exemption from the NSG, Narayanan said he was optimistic.

He said concerns of some countries were suitably dealt with but some concerns still remain.

"I am optimistic but I will not allow optimism to override caution," he said.

Asked whether New Delhi [Images] was shown the revised NSG draft, he said, "The work is in progress and I cannot tell you the details."

 Is the nuclear deal about big business?

Narayanan said since India is not a member of the NSG, it has to depend on other countries to push its case.

He hailed the efforts made by the United States, Russia [Images], France [Images], United Kingdom and a number of other countries in pushing India's case and said "I think we are nearing the goal."

He particularly showered praise on US Ambassador to India David Mulford in this regard.

Serious implications for India in NSG draft

 On whether he was confident that India's concerns were taken care of, he said, "Yes, constant dialogue is going on between New Delhi and the US."

He denied that India was arm-twisting or blackmailing countries like Ireland, Austria, New Zealand [Images], Switzerland [Images] who created hurdles at the NSG.

He said the support for the waiver was not a touchstone for friendly relations with any country. "I believe if anybody is friendly to us, they will benefit."

Draft: The Indo-US safeguards agreement

Narayanan said the outcome of the NSG meeting on August 21-22, which could not arrive at a decision to grant a waiver to India, was not a setback.

" We were prepared for this because as we were told as it may be necessary to have two rounds before finalising something which would be mutually satisfactory," he said.

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