Vienna, Sept 6 : India achieved a major milestone on Saturday in activating nuclear commercial relation with the rest of the world when the 45 nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted it an unconditional waiver to do so. The NSG approval ends 34 years of isolation enforced upon India following the 1974 Pokhran nuclear tests.
India was given approval by the NSG in spite of not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which is unprecedented and a landmark step in the implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal that will now go to the US Congress for approval.
The Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Peter Launsky said, "After protracted negotiations, the NSG today adopted an exemption for nuclear exports to India."
Austria, along with Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland had expressed strong reservations over the waiver being given to India that forced the grouping to have an unscheduled meeting on Saturday after two days of deliberations failed to produce a consensus.
They were insisting on a set of conditions if India conducted an atomic test, following which India released a significant statement with regard to its non-proliferation commitments.
However, India is opposed to any conditionalities being put for grant of waiver and would not countenance any prescription that would take away its sovereign right to test a weapon.
In the initial scheme of things, the discussions were to conclude on September 5, but last night China joined the 'hold out' countries Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland and Ireland demanding further changes in the draft.
After facing last minute hurdles diplomats and officials burnt the midnight oil on the second day of the marathon deliberations to hammer out a consensus needed to take the Indo-US nuclear deal forward.
The NSG functions on the principle of consensus in decisions that it takes.