India to reject NSG waiver if red lines are crossed: NarayananAugust 30th, 2008 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Ahead of next week’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting, India has underlined that it will not accept a waiver from the 45-member nuclear trade cartel if the “red lines” on what is considers “sacrosanct issues” are crossed. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has underlined that India is the “right candidate for global nuclear commerce” given its impeccable record in nuclear non-proliferation and said New Delhi will not accept any prescriptive provisions in the exemption as it will violate promises made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in parliament.
Amid speculation about some NSG countries demanding toughening of the terms of the waiver, Narayanan stressed that the inclusion of any clause on testing, periodic review of India’s compliance or denial of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the text of the NSG waiver would not be acceptable.
He, however, said he was cautiously optimistic that a way around these issues would be found through “creative diplomacy”.
“There is no question of cosmetic or otherwise,” Narayanan told Karan Thapar in “The Devil’s Advocate” programme, to be broadcast Sunday night, when asked whether India will accept any cosmetic changes in the language of the exemption from the NSG.
“What we are asking is that there are certain issues which have been drawn in red lines by us because those are the commitments which have been made by our prime minister,” he added.
“On those red lines, we can’t because of what we have told parliament. These are sacrosanct, if these are not met we cannot endorse the agreement,” he replied when asked whether India will accept any of these conditionalities in the text of the exemption that the NSG will consider in Vienna Sep 4.
Narayanan categorically rejected the inclusion of any reference to nuclear testing in the text of the exemption, indicating that the inclusion of such a clause - the cessation of nuclear cooperation in case of India exploding a nuclear device - could turn out to be a deal-breaker.
“We have always made this point that testing is a word that we find difficult to adjust with. Not because of anything else but because parliament has mandated us to do so,” he said. “Testing would be difficult for us. So, we will find ways around it,” he stressed.
Referring to sceptics in the NSG like the Scandinavian countries, Austria, Ireland and Switzerland, Narayanan said it was “really a question of convincing them that India, with its impeccable record of non-proliferation has always stood - if necessary - for universal nuclear disarmament (and) is the right candidate for universal nuclear commerce.”
He also asked the NSG not to continue its ban on enrichment and reprocessing technologies to India and stressed that unlike the US, which have certain conditions about exporting these technologies to other countries, none in the NSG have these conditions.
Reacting to suggestions by some countries about a periodic review of India’s compliance, Narayanan said it was “uncalled for” and will have a negative impact on those investing under this agreement.
“I am optimistic but I don’t want to allow my optimisim to override caution. We are clear that whatever we finally agree to with the NSG countries will be something we can sell to parliament,” he replied when asked whether he was confident about the NSG clearing an exemption for global nuclear commerce with India at its next meeting Sep 4-5.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Thursday made it clear that India is interested in a clean waiver from the NSG. Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar, a key India interlocutor on the nuclear deal, has also emphasised that New Delhi will not accept any conditions outside the July 18, 2005 civil nuclear understanding between India and the US.