India likely to get NSG waiver

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (UNI) India is most likely to get a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for nuclear commerce with the rest of the world, officials said here today.

As the hectic two-day deliberations of the 45-nation nuclear cartel at Vienna draw to a close, differences have narrowed down and the countries which adopted a hardline stand opposing the waiver, have more or less ''fallen in line,'' the officials said.

However, sources in Vienna said if India does not get a waiver today, a third meeting may be called.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said efforts are on to reach a consensus and '' we still have to wait for a decision.'' India, meanwhile, re-affirmed its commitment to voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and said the Indo-US civil nuclear initiative would strengthen the international non-proliferation regime.

As the crucial Plenary of the NSG completed its second and final day of deliberations, the External Affairs Minister said in a statement that India has a long-standing and steadfast commitment to universal, non-discriminatory and total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The statement by the External Affairs Minister sent positive signals as the NSG continued its brain-storming session discussing a waiver for India. The US also welcomed the statement saying it had 'helped' at the NSG.

Switzerland, Austria, New Zealand and some other countries which had reservations about India being given a waiver, citing nuclear proliferation concerns, have reportedly agreed to the waiver on US prodding.

The meeting dispersed for one hour in the evening during which India made last ditch attempts trying to convince the opponents of the waiver.

New Zealand, however, reportedly still had reservations, the officials said.

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