New Delhi, Sept 7 : A day after the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) agreed to a waiver for India, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Sunday that it would pave the way for the country to enter into civilian nuclear trade with the international community.
The 45-member NSG, meeting in Vienna, adopted a one-off waiver proposed by the United States, allowing atomic business with India even though it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has tested nuclear devices.
The global atomic cartel on Saturday decided to lift a 34-year-old ban on nuclear trade with New Delhi, a crucial step to sealing a controversial US-India civilian nuclear accord.
Addressing a news conference in Kolkata, Mukherjee said that it was a step towards the India-US nuclear deal. He added that international trade in civil nuclear area will have to be operationalised through bilateral agreement.
"So far as NSG waiver is concerned, after that it will open the doors to entering into civil nuclear trade with international community and international trade in civilian nuke area will have to be operationalised through bilateral agreement," said Mukherjee.
But a day after India emerged out of the nuclear isolation, Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) that withdrew support to the ruling Congress party along with its other communist allies over the nuclear deal, termed the development as a step towards total surrender of the country's nuclear rights.
Prakash Karat, the general secretary of the party said the NSG waiver was orchestrated by the United States, as it wanted the 123 Agreement to be operationalised.
"The claim that this waiver which has been organised by the United States through a cartel which has been set by it, after all NSG was set up by the United States, now they have organised the waiver for India. We all knew that this is not India's business; it's the United States, which had to get us this waiver. So this orchestrated propaganda by the ruling coalition and so enthusiastically taken up by the corporate media, that this is historic day, breakthrough for India, all is courtesy to United States which wants the 123 agreement operationalised," he said.
Meanwhile, members of the ruling Congress Working Committee (CWC) along with party President Sonia Gandhi called on Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and congratulated him on the waiver.
"We met the Prime Minister and congratulated him. We ensured him that we shall stand by him and garner support in future also. We are hopeful that the nuclear deal, when it would be finally in place, will help India is progressing, will contribute to the development of the nation and help in resolving the energy crisis," said Janardan Dwivedi, CWC member.
Speaking exclusively to Asian News International , former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said that he strongly backed the deal.
"I believe it is good for the nation and it is important from the energy production point of view. Some of the constraints we have getting the fuel like uranium and various nuclear material, will get removed by this waiver finally when the pact is signed," said Kalam.
NSG critics and disarmament campaigners fear Indian access to nuclear material markets will let it tap into more of its limited indigenous resources, such as uranium fuel, to boost its nuclear arsenal, and spark an arms race in the region.
The deal has also been criticised by opposition parties as compromising the country's sovereignty and its right to carry out more nuclear tests.
After two weeks of feverish meetings and long-distance consultations, resistance to the exemption finally crumbled when six holdout states reluctantly accepted an Indian declaration on Friday reinforcing a commitment to a voluntary test moratorium.
Intense US pressure for the waiver involved overnight phone calls to Presidents and Prime Ministers of holdout countries, several diplomats said.
Six NSG nations had been demanding a clause stipulating an automatic cessation of the waiver if India tested another bomb.
After India's statement, the holdout group splintered as Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland indicated they could accept more limited language, diplomats said.
Ireland, Austria and New Zealand fell into line on Saturday.