NSG to meet in Vienna on Sep 4-5, amid new disclosures

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New Delhi, Sept 3 (UNI) The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which meets in Vienna tomorrow and on Friday to discuss clean waiver to India for nuclear commerce with the rest of the world, appears headed towards yet another inconclusive round.

The new disclosures that the US will not supply sensitive technologies and will end the deal if India conducts a nuclear test, have cast a shadow on the agreement itself.

India has all along maintained that the deal would not affect the country's strategic programme, a sensitive issue for New Delhi.

While on the one hand, the US is likely to take up the case for India, some members of the 45-nation nuclear cartel still oppose a clean waiver and have put conditions before a formal decison is taken.

India, on the other hand, is confident and optimistic about a clean waiver and has warned that if the 'red lines' set by it are not met, India would not endorse the agreement.

''What we are asking is that there are certain issues which have been drawn in red lines by us, because those are the commitments which have been made by our Prime Minister.

On those red lines we can't (give way) because that we have told Parliament. These are sacrosanct, if these are not met, we cannot endorse the agreement,'' National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan has said.

A revised draft, prepared by the US, will be taken up by the NSG after about 20 countries had put certain conditions at the nuclear cartel's August 21-22 meeting.

However, some countries including, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland still have reservations about the draft, saying the amendments made in the revised text are only cosmetic.

The revised draft has already been circulated among the members by Germany, the current Chair of the NSG.

''There is no question of cosmetic or otherwise...'' the NSA said.

The countries are opposing a clean waiver saying India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has not ratified the Compehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

The US has made it clear that it was ''very positive'' and in touch with NSG countries.

Assistance Secretary of State for South Asia and Central Asia, Richard Boucher, met Minister of State for External Affairs here and later told reporters that the US was ''very positive'' and actively involved with the NSG countries.

US Ambassador to India David Mulford also met the envoys of six NSG countries in New Delhi and explained to them the need for a clean waiver for India.

The deal must clear the NSG hurdle so that it passes on to the US Congress for finalr eview before it is ratified.

The entire exercise must end before September end.

UNI RB PK PM1919

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