India hopeful of getting ‘clean exemption’ from NSG

July 12th, 2008 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) The Indian government Saturday said it was “hopeful” of getting “clean, unconditional exemption” from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and underlined that it did not expect any “hindrance” from any NSG country in its pursuit of global civil nuclear cooperation. “As a result of our conversations with various NSG countries, we could hope that there will be no hindrance in this process,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters here.

“We have met members of the NSG both formally and informally. The G8 countries have supported robust civil nuclear cooperation with India,” Menon said while alluding to the G8 chairman’s summary at the end of the recently concluded summit of the world’s wealthiest countries in Japan.

“Out of 35 member countries of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), 19 are also members of the NSG,” Menon said, indicating that after the IAEA board approves the India-specific safeguards pact, India’s case will be stronger in the NSG.

“One can’t predict the final outcome. We are not astrologers. But we are hopeful,” Menon replied when asked whether he was confident of getting the support of the NSG for India’s efforts for global nuclear cooperation.

After the IAEA board approves the safeguards pact, the NSG will decide on exempting India from its guidelines that currently bar nuclear cooperation with any country which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao early this week on the sidelines of the G8 summit, Menon had said that India was hopeful that China will not stand in the way of India in the NSG.

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