A lot of hurdles yet to cross in n-deal: PM

August 6th, 2008 - 12:25 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Ahead of a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group later this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday said there are “a lot of hurdles to cross” - an indication that a waiver from the NSG may not be as smooth as some may have thought it to be. “We have a lot of hurdles to cross. The next stage in the process is NSG,” Manmohan Singh told reporters when asked whether India was hopeful of getting a nod from the 45-nation NSG for global civil nuclear cooperation.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a function here to launch a book, “A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India” by his daughter Upinder Singh, eminent historian and professor in the Delhi University.

The NSG is likely to meet Aug 21 to decide on changing its guidelines to facilitate global civil nuclear commerce with India on the basis of the India-specific safeguards agreement approved by the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Aug 1.

There are some NSG member countries like Austria, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Finland which have strong reservations about making an exception for India and its implications for the integrity of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

US ambassador David C. Mulford Tuesday said the US has launched “a major diplomatic offensive” to garner support of the NSG countries, which operate by consensus, for the India-US civil nuclear deal which seeks to reopen doors of global nuclear trade for New Delhi after a gap of over three decades.

The US is also hopeful of getting “a clean exemption” for India to engage in nuclear commerce, Mulford told reporters here via phone from the US.

India is pushing for a “clean and unconditional” waiver from the NSG.

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