PM meets Sonia, Pranab over NSG draftAugust 30th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) With barely five days to go before the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and discussed the revised draft of NSG exemption.External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to the Congress president, were also present at the meeting.
The meeting also discussed a strategy for winning over sceptics in the NSG and India’s options in case the draft exemption included prescriptive provisions, reliable sources said.
Earlier, Manmohan Singh had discussed the NSG issue with Mukherjee, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar.
The government is pushing for a “clean waiver” that will be free of any prescriptive conditions and any reference to the cessation of nuclear cooperation in case India conducts a nuclear test.
New Delhi has, however, indicated that it is ready to accept some changes in the language of the proposed waiver provided it is within the framework of the July 18, 2005 civil nuclear understanding between India and the US.
The NSG will meet Sep 4-5 to consider the revised draft of exemption the US will be putting on the table - aimed at lifting the current ban on global nuclear trade with India.
The last meeting of the NSG Aug 22 ended inconclusively with some sceptics like Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland demanding conditions like a reference to testing to be included in the exemption.
India has underlined that it will not accept a waiver from the 45-member nuclear trade grouping if the “red lines” on what is considers “sacrosanct issues” are crossed.
National Security Adviser 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 told CNN-IBN in an interview 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 to it.