US committed to getting India NSG nod: Menon

July 4th, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Japan to attend the G8 summit next week, the Indian government Friday said it was hopeful the US will live up to its “commitment” to get an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for the India-US nuclear deal after the completion of a safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “The US is committed to getting us an exemption under the July 18, 2005 agreement,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters at a briefing ahead of Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to Japan that begins Monday.

“We have been in touch with NSG members. We will seek their support,” Menon replied when asked whether the prime minister will ask the NSG countries to support the India-US deal during his bilateral meetings with them on the sidelines of the G8 summit.

India, along with China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa have been invited to the G8 summit of the world’s wealthiest nations as outreach countries, also called O-5.

“As soon as a decision is taken, we will go ahead and with the IAEA pact,” Menon replied when asked when the government was planning to send a team to Vienna to sign a safeguards pact with the nuclear watchdog.

Menon, however, did not spell out any deadline for clinching this pact.

US Congressman Gary Ackerman, who is currently on a visit to India, had Thursday said that if the next two steps - the IAEA pact and the NSG waiver - were not concluded by September, it will be virtually impossible for the US Congress to endorse it.

Nearly all G8 and 0-5 countries are members of the NSG. If the government decides to go ahead with the IAEA pact and the deal, which almost looks certain, the focus will turn on winning the support of the 45-nation NSG for amending its guidelines in favour of global civil nuclear trade with India.

This time round, Australia, South Korea and Indonesia have also been invited for a meeting of major economies on the sidelines of the summit to broaden global consensus on climate change, food security and energy security and other economic issues.

Besides a separate meeting of the 0-5 Tuesday in Sapporo, bilateral meetings between Manmohan Singh and US President George Bush, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Mexican President have been scheduled for Wednesday in the island city of Toyako.

The 0-5 countries plan to come out with a working document reflecting their shared attitudes and positions towards leading global issues like climate change and WTO talks.

There will be a breakfast meeting between leaders of G8 counties and O-5 countries Wednesday morning that will focus on a mid-term review of decisions taken at the last G8 summit in the German resort of Heiligendam.

The G8-O5 meeting will discuss issues like innovation, energy security and efficiency, development and achievement of the millennium development goals. It will be followed by a meeting between leaders of 16 countries, also called Meeting of Major Economies (MEM). There will also be an informal meeting of BRIC leaders that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China.

As climate change tops the agenda of the G8 summit, India will reiterate its stand of differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions which was also outlined in national climate policy announced by New Delhi this week.

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