Indo-US N-deal: India woos NSG hardliners

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Vienna, Sep 5: The D-day finally arrives....While UPA and US is holding breath on the outcome of the NSG meet the opposition here is belittling every small issue associated with Nuclear deal. As the pressure builds, India as a nation is on tenterhooks... Will it finally emerge from the NSG doldrum? In this midst, India is not holding back in using soft words to woo defiant skeptic nations to grant India access to nuclear fuel and waiver to India.

Countries like New Zealand, Austria, Norway, Ireland, The Netherlands and Switzerland have expressed their reservation to grant India specific waiver and raised questions at the NSG meeting on Thursday, particularly with regard to the issue of nuclear testing.

Soon after the deliberations of the opening day of the two-day meeting of the NSG concluded, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Prime Minister's Special Envoy Shyam Saran met diplomats of these countries in an attempt to allay their apprehensions.

"We have made progress," a Canadian diplomat said at the end of Thursday's sessions. Meetings continued through the day, in small and large groups, to thrash out the differences.

According to reports, the US is expected to consult overnight with the handful of countries still holding out and then talk to the Indian delegation in Vienna, with a view to develop a new draft waiver by Friday.

"The number of countries who favour this going through now is quite large, certainly more than before," said a diplomat.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, who is heading the US delegation in Vienna said: ''We are making steady progress in this process and will continue to make progress, And while a number of representatives here have raised important questions that need to be addressed, our discussions have been constructive and clearly aimed at reaching an early consensus."

Meanwhile, the Centre has made it clear that it will never compromise on India's sovereignty on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.


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