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NSG waiver: Hectic negotiations on in Vienna

Ajay Kaul | September 06, 2008 00:44 IST

Hectic negotiations on India getting NSG waiver are going down to the wire with last-minute changes being pushed by sceptic countries to incorporate their concerns in the draft to hammer out a consensus.

Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango

After four rounds of discussions that spilled over late into Friday night, Austria, which was among a couple of countries holding out, gave enough indications that 'more work still' needs to be done that will enable India cross a major hurdle in operationalising the Indo-US nuclear deal.

India walks NSG tightrope

"Some work still needs to be done. A number of mirror images need to be added to the current talks and ideas in the draft. We want to have more effective and qualitatively improved security architecture," said Peter Launsky, an Austrian foreign ministry official.

'The PM's falsehood is exposed'

Launsky said some 'auxiliary measures' required to be incorporated in the crucial document.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said late Friday night in New Delhi [Images] that 'efforts are continuing to evolve a consensus in the NSG'.

'We can pull it off at NSG'

Diplomats were working late into the night to incorporate changes in the revised draft waiver at the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting with the US walking the tightrope to convince the naysayers.

NSG diplomats were being consulted by the US and Indian officials on reaching formulations that satisfy all sides.

'Clean waiver for nuclear deal is a fantasy'

Earlier in the day, India's case for a clean and unconditional waiver got a boost after New Delhi's reaffirmation of its commitment to non-proliferation goals.

The statement of Mukherjee in New Delhi generated a 'positive momentum' at the discussions in the 45-member nuclear cartel, which welcomed and praised it.

Embarrassing revelations on the Nuclear Deal

"This is a very significant statement, which was discussed by the NSG members and praised and welcomed by those in attendance. So on this basis we believe a momentum has been generated in the discussions," US acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control John Rood told media persons after the morning round of discussions on the second day of deliberation.

Reiterations, not revelations

One western diplomat did not rule out a third meeting of the NSG if a consensus was elusive at the current meeting. There was even speculation that the meeting could be convened around September 21.

Discussions between those strongly pushing for the India waiver like Russia [Images], Britain and France [Images] and those who have reservations like Ireland, New Zealand [Images], Austria and Switzerland [Images] were held in breaks in an attempt to thrash out differences, one diplomat said.

India can't go beyond its commitment to Parliament

A few countries are still said to be having some questions, particularly on the issue of nuclear testing by India, when they put forth their expressions during the morning session on the second day of the NSG meeting. 

Efforts are still under way to assuage their concerns, diplomats said.

Indian officials meet reps of sceptic NSG nations

Rood emphasised that his country remained committed to securing the exception for India and was optimistic on achieving the goal.

"We are both committed to achieving the objective and achieving consensus and are optimistic that we can achieve the goal," he said.

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