US will not allow changes that will block deal: Boucher

August 22nd, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) The US Friday assured India that it would push for “a clean waiver” in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and underlined that while there may be changes in the draft of exemption, it would not allow changes that could “block” nuclear cooperation with New Delhi. “There may be changes in the text. But we will not allow any changes that will impede the process or block cooperation,” US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Richard Boucher told NDTV news channel in an interview.

“India and the US can work out changes together,” he added. “We are pushing for a clean exemption,” Boucher stressed as the 45-nation NSG began a second day of discussions in Vienna to consider whether to allow global nuclear trade with India.

“We need to listen to these countries that have problems. India and the US have good answers,” he said, while alluding to sceptics in the NSG who fear that an exception to India from the existing rules of global nuclear commerce may undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands are among those countries in the NSG who have strong non-proliferation agendas and are said to be opposing the nuclear deal.

India, however, hopes that its impeccable non-proliferation record and its growing needs for low-polluting nuclear energy will persuade sceptics to eventually back the nuclear deal.

If the ongoing meeting of the NSG in Vienna ends on an inconclusive note, a second meeting of the cartel that controls global nuclear trade will likely be held early September.

The NSG’s nod will be followed by the US Congress taking a decision on approving the 123 bilateral India-US civil nuclear agreement - the final step that will lead to a formal signing of the deal between the two countries and reopen doors of global nuclear trade for India after a gap of 34 years.

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