US to work for India-specific early waiver in NSG: envoy

August 1st, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) Within minutes of the IAEA board approving unanimously the safeguards pact in Vienna, the US Friday underlined that it would “work vigorously” with India to get “an India-specific waiver” in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “The approval today of the Indian agreement by the IAEA’s board of governors is a key step towards implementing the US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative,” US Ambassador David C. Mulford said in a statement here.

“We will work vigorously with the government of India to obtain an India-specific exemption in the NSG and final Congressional approval,” the US envoy said.

In a meeting that lasted several hours, the 35-member board of the IAEA approved with consensus the safeguards agreement that aims at bringing 14 Indian nuclear power reactors under international safeguards over the next few years.

With the IAEA board’s approval of the India-specific safeguards pact, the action now moves to the 45-nation NSG - a cartel that controls the global flow of nuclear technology and fuel.

No dates have been decided for the NSG meet. But according to reliable sources, it is likely to take place Aug 21.

The US is, however, keen that with not much time left for Congressional approval of the deal, the NSG meets sometime in the next fortnight so that the 123 agreement can be approved by the US Congress with an up and down vote before it adjourns ahead of the November US presidential elections.

India is seeking “clean and unconditional waiver” from the NSG that will allow it to resume global nuclear commerce after a hiatus of over three decades.

The US has already sent a draft of exemption sought in the NSG to India. There are some differences over the draft, but Indian officials are hopeful these issues will be resolved and the NSG will give India a “clean waiver”, without any conditions outside the July 18, 2005, civil nuclear understanding.

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