India working at altering NSG guildelines on Uranium supply: Govt

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New Delhi, Mar 13 (UNI) India is working towards altering the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group's guidelines for Uranium supply for the final implementation of the Indo-US Nuclear deal, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

''No civilian nuclear energy cooperation is possible unless NSG changes its guidelines and the Government is getting the NSG to alter its guidelines,'' Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office Prithviraj Chauhan said in reply to a question during Question Hour raised by BJP Leader Sushma Swaraj.

Responding to a question about stopping of Uranium supply by Australia a NSG member, Mr Chauhan said Australia was not supplying Uranium to India.

''In August preliminary discussions were held between the two Prime Ministers on the possible sale of uranium... But at the moment India is not getting Uranium from Australia, therefore the question of stopping its supply does not arise,'' he told the House.

Seeking a further clarification, Ms Swaraj asked if Australia will stop the supply for civilian nuclear energy in the future if India goes ahead with a nuclear test after signing the Indo-US nuclear deal.

To which, Mr Chauhan repeated his reply on the current status of no supply.

Dissatisfied with the reply, BJP member Arun Shourie pointed out that Australia's threat on stopping of the supply confirmed to India that the NSG works as a ''cartel'' against non-member countries.

''Australia, which supplies Uranium to China another NSG member and a recognised nuclear weapon state, works as part of the cartel... the provisions of the Hyde Act in the Indo-US nuclear deal binds us to the fact that if nuclear test are conducted then all supplies for civil nuclear energy will be stopped,'' he added.

The Minister, then, said the Government was working towards ensuring that the guidelines of the NSG are altered.

''Unless the guidelines are changed and altered we cannot have cooperation on civilian nuclear energy,'' he added.

India at present is holding discussion with IAEA on India- specific safeguards in the draft agreement of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

UNI NR Mir AS1347

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