Vienna round of talks with NSG inconclusive

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Vienna, August 22 : The second round of crucial two-day meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries to grant India access to nuclear fuel and technology ended here today inconclusively.

The NSG is expected to meet again on September 4 to take a final decision.

After intense deliberations over the move that will end India's 34-year-old isolation in the civil nuclear commerce, diplomats said no final decision could be arrived at. The leader of the US delegation at the NSG meet told reporters that the meeting was positive.

He said many delegates raised some questions but he remains optimistic and they will continue to make progress. He said the discussions remained inconclusive as some members raised questions over the move to grant waiver to India since it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Indications that the decision could be delayed emerged during the day when US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said in Mumbai that some amendments would be made to the draft waiver moved at the NSG.

In the first round, the Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon briefed the representatives of all NSG countries conveying India's commitment towards non-proliferation.

The foreign Secretary was joined by Prime Minister's special envoy Shyam Saran to allay fears of some members of the grouping.

They later held separate meetings with key member countries of the NSG. The high power Indian delegation is understood to have cited India's impeccable record with regard to nuclear non-proliferation to assert that the waiver will not in any way weaken the global non-proliferation regime.

The Foreign Secretary also pointed out that New Delhi has in place strict export control regime besides other measures to guard against transfer of dual-use technology or nuclear fuel to ineligible entities.

New Delhi has made it clear that any conditionality to the waiver will not serve India's purpose and therefore cannot be acceptable.

ANI

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