US wants India to be full NSG partner: official

September 8th, 2008 - 10:17 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) The US wants to make India a “full partner” in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after helping it secure a waiver from the nuclear cartel, according to a senior US official.The US will continue to strive to “make India a full partner in this group (NSG) which we think is crucial… from a strategic, political, economic and energy standpoint”, David Bohigian, assistant secretary (market access and compliance) of the Department of Commerce, told reporters here Monday.

The 45-member NSG, at the end of its three-day meet in Vienna, decided Saturday to end more than three decades of nuclear isolation of India.

“President Bush, Secretary of State (Condoleezza Rice) and the entire administration had worked tirelessly to ensure that India reached the stage where it has today in the NSG,” Bohigian said.

The official said the next step for the US administration would be to work through Congress and the Hyde Act and “make sure that business opportunities will enable the US firms to stay in what is estimated to be $100 billion market” for nuclear energy in India.

He said nuclear energy would play a “key role” in India’s growth story. “When you look at the energy map of 2020 and beyond, certainly nuclear energy has a key role to play in India’s growth which we welcome,” said the US official.

Even as foreign nations and private companies have taken interest in getting a piece of the nuclear industry pie here, India has also expressed interest in being a source for nuclear technology.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his statement Sep 5 said: “India is interested in participating as a supplier nation, particularly for thorium-based fuel and in establishment of international fuel banks, which also benefit India.”

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