US envoy asks six NSG countries to vote for India

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New Delhi, Aug 29 (UNI) The United States has asked six member countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to vote for India at next week's meeting of the nuclear cartel in Vienna to ''avoid any misunderstandings with New Delhi,'' sources said here today.

US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, told the envoys from Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands in a meeting here yesterday that their countries should vote for the Indo-US nuclear Deal when the 45-nation nuclear cartel meets again on September 4-5, the sources said.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers meeting here today that India was working with NSG countries ''directly and through interlocutors'' for a clean waiver to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Mr Mulford reportedly told the envoys that all of them have good relations, specially in trade, with India and obstructing the deal would convey a wrong message that would not be in the larger interest of all the countries involved, according to the sources.

A senior official, while confirming the meeting, said it was part of the general exercise that the US Ambassador holds with envoys of various countries, specially the NSG nations, to lobby for the deal.

The August 21-22 meeting of the NSG in Vienna ended inconclusively after 20 NSG member countries proposed amendments in the draft agreement.

The NSG later decided to meet again on September 4-5 to re-consider the agreement.

Clearance by the NSG is essential for the deal so that it is finally taken up by the US Congress before being finally implemented. The whole process has to be completed by September end.

About 20 countries of the NSG are objecting to an unconditional waiver to India saying India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has not ratified the CTBT.

They have proposed certain amendments to the draft agreement, including UN inspection of Indian nuclear sites and a total ban on nuclear testing.

The US is now working on revising the draft agreement, the sources added.

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