India to hold special briefing for all NSG members

August 20th, 2008 - 11:47 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, Aug 20 (IANS) India will hold a special briefing for the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) later Wednesday in an effort to get the existing ban that prevents nuclear commerce between NSG countries and New Delhi lifted.The NSG will begin its two-day formal meeting Thursday (Aug 21) at the premises of Japan’s permanent mission to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

India is not a member of the group and cannot be part of its discussions when they begin Thursday. Therefore, it has decided to brief all the 45 members of the NSG at the IAEA headquarters on the eve of the two-day meeting.

To get the waiver from the NSG, India needs the support of all the 45 members as all decisions in the group are taken through consensus.

Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and prime minister’s special envoy Shyam Saran are scheduled to arrive in Vienna leading an Indian delegation Wednesday. They will hold a meeting with officials from Germany, which holds the chair of the NSG, and later brief all the other members of the group.

The US has circulated a draft among the NSG members seeking a unanimouus waiver to allow nuclear trade between the NSG and India. The senior Indian officials will be able to clarify and answer questions that members of the group may have on the draft and its ramifications on global disarmament and non-proliferation.

Indian officials already in Vienna told IANS that all 45 representatives of the NSG are expected to accept India’s invitation for a briefing here.

The exact agenda of India’s presentation to the NSG is not known but the country is expected to allay nuclear proliferation concerns of members and to answer any other questions and doubts raised during the meet.

IAEA officials confirmed the meeting saying that they are facilitating India’s meeting with NSG members on its premises but the IAEA is neither the host nor involved with the event.

On the eve of the NSG meet there is optimism amongst Indian and US officials that the NSG will allow a waiver to India at the conclusion of the two-day meet that ends Friday.

“After we get an okay on Aug 22 there may not be another meeting on Sep 2. A waiver in Vienna is in our interest. Nothing like it,” an Indian official told IANS.

Meanwhile, Austria’s Green Party, the third largest political party after the socialists and conservatives, has decided to stage a demonstration outside Japan’s permanent mission to the IAEA, where the NSG will meet Thursday.

“We will hold banners saying, ‘Have the courage to say no to the India-US nuclear deal’. We will make anti nuclear speeches and demand that the NSG say no to the nuclear ambitions of India and the US,” Ulrike Lunacek, Green Party spokesperson, told IANS.

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