Expedite India-US nuke deal, says France

June 26th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Asking India to expedite the India-US nuclear deal, France Thursday said the deal is not just a bilateral treaty but a package deal which will open new industrial avenues with other nations. “The deal is not an India-US deal rather it is a package deal between IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), NSG, Russia, France, UK and China, whereby we are agreeing upon an agenda to work on civil nuclear development,” a top French diplomat said here.

The India-US nuclear deal has been stalled by serious differences over it between the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its Leftist allies, who give crucial support of 61 MPs to the government from the outside.

The Left bloc has been opposing the deal saying it will result in compromising India’s independent foreign policy and make it a client state of the US, a charge the government hotly denies.

“Forty countries (in NSG) need to read paper of technical nature. Many of them have sensitivities while some are seeking clarifications. India needs to expedite the process and we hope Indian government arrive at a decision soon,” the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

France, which has already inked the Declaration on Development of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes with India, has been holding parleys with the member nations of the NSG for consensus building on the nuclear deal.

“With US and Russia we are trying to convince everybody this evolution is important and good for the stability of world and India. We have initiated informal talks with partner countries.”

Most powerful countries would join hands to make it (the deal) possible. We will do everything possible to push the deal through NSG,” the diplomat added.

Currently, India and the US have completed negotiations of the bilateral document to operationalise the deal, known as the 123 agreement. But, it can only be signed after the US congress approves the text with an up-or-down vote.

Before that, India has to sign a safeguards agreement with IAEA for its civilian nuclear reactor. India has concluded the negotiations for this agreement, but it has not been signed pending Left objections.

The signing of the safeguards agreement is crucial for the NSG countries to consider the US-led proposal to change its guidelines for trade in nuclear commerce and technology with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Thereafter, the NSG consensus will allow US lawmakers to take up the 123 agreement for passage through the Congress.

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