The two-day meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will begin in Vienna to consider whether to allow nuclear commerce with a country that has not signed the NPT? India will hold a special briefing for the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) on Wednesday, Aug 20 in an effort to get the existing ban that prevents nuclear commerce between NSG countries and New Delhi lifted.
The nuclear deal cannot go ahead without the NSG's approval and it works by consensus. But several countries are opposed to the deal and one of them, Ireland, has told sources that they still have serious concerns.
Top Indian officials led by the Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon are in Vienna to do some last minute lobbying. The other members of the team include R B Grover, PM's special envoy Shyam Saran and D B Venkatesh Varma from the Indian disarmament mission in Geneva. They are scheduled to meet NSG chair Germany.
New Zealand too may create problems. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Aug 19 Prime Minister Helen Clark said that New Zealand, as a nuclear free state, was concerned about the deal. She said, "It would be no secret that we would like to see more conditionalities around the agreement. We are pursing this diplomatically."
The 3 main conidtions by NSG Nations
Many countries are pushing for a 'testing' clause, that all nuclear cooperation with India should cease automatically if India tests another nuclear weapon. Second, they are pushing for a periodic review of the India case to be tested against unspecified benchmarks. Third, they are clearly unwilling to relax the bar against transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to India.
This will be followed by a meeting with the NSG 'troika', that is, past, present and future chair, in this case, South Africa, Germany and Hungary.
India has refused requests to be present at the meeting itself, saying it wasn't a member.
India is pushing very hard for lifting of the bar on ENR technology, but here it has no supporters, not even the US, which has the most stringent laws on this in the world, and would not like to be pushing this openly in violation of its domestic laws. India is also against the 'periodic review' condition — but here some flexibility could be shown, said sources. The NSG members have been asking for India to undertake visible 'obligations' on nuclear non-proliferation issues, all of which India says it has.