India asks NSG to abide by 2008 clean waiver (Lead)

August 10th, 2011 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) India Wednesday hoped the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s (NSG) new guidelines would not affect the 2008 “clean waiver” granted to it on transfer of sensitive technologies.

India expects NSG members to honour their bilateral accords facilitating full civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi “without any precondition”, External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna told parliament.

Krishna told parliament that the nuclear cartel had in 2008 given the “clean” exemption to India “knowing fully well” it is not a signatory to the NPT.

He allayed concerns here over the new guidelines of the 46-nation NSG that bans the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technologies to countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Krishna also hoped that despite the fresh guidelines the nuclear cartel adopted June 23-24 in the Netherlands, the international atomic order will “continue to evolve in India’s favour”.

“We are absolutely clear that as far as India is concerned, the basis of our international civil nuclear cooperation remains as contained in the special exemption from the NSG guidelines given to India on Sept 6, 2008,” Krishna said in a statement in the Lok Sabha on ENR technology.

“The September 2008 exemption accords a special status to India. It was granted knowing full well that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the minister stressed.

“As far as we are concerned, the September 2008 decision is the basis and overarching framework that governs cooperation in civil nuclear matters between India and the NSG.”

“The issue is the full implementation of that understanding. This is what we expect and our major partners are committed to,” Krishna said, adding that New Delhi expected all NSG members to honour their commitments as reflected in the 2008 NSG statement and bilateral cooperation agreements.

In a historic step, the NSG granted a “clean waiver” to India on Sept 6, 2008, that paved the way for resuming full civilian nuclear cooperation with India after a hiatus of 34 years.

The NSG said at that time that it will take a decision on the transfer of ENR technologies later by consensus. However, the new guidelines stirred anxieties in India about their impact on the commitment NSG members had made to transfer ENR technologies, a crucial part of the NSG waiver and India’s bilateral atomic agreements with other countries.

In parliament, Krishna sought to allay these anxieties by mentioning assurances given by major nuclear power countries which have signed atomic accords with India, including the US, France and Russia, that nothing in the new NSG guidelines will detract from full civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

“I would also like to reassure honourable members that we will not accept preconditions for transfer of enrichment and reprocessing items and technology,” Krishna asserted.

Krishna also stressed that India has “full mastery” of the entire nuclear fuel cycle, including ENR technology and its transfer has “no bearing” on India’s upfront entitlement to reprocess foreign origin spent fuel and the use of such fuel in India’s own safeguard facilities.

He added that the government was committed to taking forward the domestic three-stage nuclear power programme and underlined that India has a “well-developed indigenous enrichment and reprocessing infrastructure.”

“India is among the handful of countries that has developed fast breeder technology. Access to enrichment and reprocessing technology from abroad, as part of international civil nuclear cooperation, is only an additionality to accelerate our three-stage programme,” he said.

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