NSG may hold second meet to clear India waiverAugust 12th, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS
By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 12 (IANS) It could take “another” meeting to get a waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for the India-US civil nuclear deal if an “easy agreement” does not come at its Aug 21 meeting, according to a top US official. “If we find an easy agreement, maybe we can finish our discussions, but it may take another meeting after that to get together,” Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asian affairs, said in Tokyo last week.
“There are a lot of serious issues” involved before the work is done in the NSG, said the senior US official lobbying for an expeditious approval of the nuclear deal by the 45-member grouping that controls global nuclear trade, according to a transcript released here by the State Department.
“We are relying on the understanding of other partners in this effort… We’re asking people to look closely and quickly in the NSG, to move expeditiously, and we hope that will happen, and then we’ll go to the US Congress,” Boucher said.
“We’re trying to listen to other governments… and we’ll have a more complete discussion later this month with the other nuclear suppliers,” he said.
Agreeing that it is “a tight timetable”, he said: “Now that India has told us they’re ready to move forward, we’re determined to move as far as we can, as quickly as we can.”
The NSG waiver for nuclear trade with India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), will clear the second major hurdle before the implementing 123 agreement is sent to the US Congress for final approval in an up-and-down vote.
The board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted on Aug 1 by consensus a safeguards agreement for India, a key step for initiating civilian nuclear cooperation under the India-US deal.
In his interaction with the Japanese officials, Boucher said: “We also talked a lot about India. We talked about the India civil nuclear initiative that the United States has taken and how we’re working with other governments now, first at the IAEA in Vienna, where we were able to achieve consensus to move forward on the safeguards agreement.”
“And now we’re working and talking to other countries in the NSG,” he said. “And so as we approach a group meeting in the NSG, we’ve tried to make sure that we listened to key countries, that we talked to key countries, and Japan is certainly one of them.”
Boucher said he also had “a lot of very different discussions, both on the non-proliferation aspects of the agreement and the cooperation with India, where I think it is important to bring in India alongside the international non-proliferation effort.”
The official said they had also talked “about the bigger picture of our relationships with India and how those are improving and changing and how this agreement fits in that context, as well”.
The US understood that Japan is going to have questions and issues that they want to raise, Boucher said. “We think those are important things to be discussed. But we also think that those issues and questions that can be raised do indeed have good answers, solid answers, because in the end this agreement contributes to non-proliferation.”
“It contributes to clean energy for India’s economic development, and it contributes to India’s relationship with the rest of the world,” he said.
“So we think it’s a good thing. We hope people will talk this through nuclear suppliers and reach consensus.”