Support for n-deal growing in NSG: MenonJuly 21st, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Even as the government faces a crucial survival vote in parliament with the India-US nuclear deal as a key issue, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon Monday said support for the deal was “growing” in the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group. “The support for the initiative is growing,” Menon told reporters here when asked about the reaction of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board and NSG countries to the nuclear deal after he briefed them in Vienna Friday.
“There are still countries that have doubts and misgivings about the deal. We will deal with them,” Menon said confidently.
The IAEA secretariat will brief all member countries of the UN nuclear watchdog on July 25 about the technical aspects of the India-specific safeguards agreement, he said.
“We told them the deal was in India’s interest and also in theirs,” Menon said in his first remarks after coming from Vienna.
“We spoke about the importance of the civil nuclear initiative and the resumption of global nuclear trade with India,” he said.
“We also spoke about the importance of the deal for India’s energy needs and stressed that it’s an environmentally clean energy,” he said when asked about his presentation before the 35-member IAEA board and NSG countries.
Menon also stressed that India has made it clear that it is looking for “clean, unconditional exemption” from the NSG, which has to decide on amending its guidelines in favour of global nuclear commerce with India.
The US is committed to getting India exemption from the NSG under the July 18, 2005, joint statement, he said.
“We will do it as quickly as we can,” he said when asked how much time it will take for the NSG to make up its mind.
US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns is expected to come in August to discuss with Indian officials the strategy to take forward the nuclear deal in the NSG.
After concluding the safeguards pact with the IAEA and a waiver from the NSG, the enabling 123 India-US agreement has to be endorsed by the US Congress before it becomes operational.
The government has made it clear that it will approach the IAEA board for a ratification of the safeguards pact only after winning the trust vote, which is set for Tuesday.
The outcome of the trust vote is expected to decide the fate of not only the ruling UPA coalition but also of the nuclear deal.