US working hard for India waiver in NSG: Boucher

September 1st, 2008 - 10:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Ahead of the crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to discuss a revised draft for lifting the nuclear ban on India, the US Monday said it was “working hard” to get a waiver for India from the 45-nation cartel that controls the export of nuclear fuel and technology. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher met Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and reviewed the evolving position in the NSG which will meet in Vienna Sep 4-5 to decide on amending its guidelines for resuming nuclear commerce with India.

They also discussed concerns of some sceptics in the NSG like Austria and New Zealand, which are not satisfied with the revised draft that has been circulated by the US to members of the NSG before the Sep 4 meeting.

“We are working very closely (with India) and hard on the NSG,” Boucher told reporters here.

“Our attitude is positive,” said Boucher after meeting Sharma.

With just two more days to go before the defining meeting of the NSG which can make or mar India’s ambitions for global nuclear commerce, the US and India have stepped up the diplomatic offensive to make one last-ditch effort to bring sceptics around and address their non-proliferation concerns.

The US has deputed its senior officials to various NSG member countries to win their backing for the waiver.

Last week, US Ambassador to India David Mulford also met envoys of countries who have strong reservations about the nuclear deal and tried to convince them about reasons for bringing India inside the global non-proliferation tent.

During the last meeting of the NSG Aug 21-22, some sceptics, including Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland, demanded changes in the draft of the waiver to include their concerns about testing, periodic review of India’s compliance and restricting export of sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies.

It is not clear whether the draft of the revised text reflects their concerns and how the language of the proposed waiver has been changed to accommodate these concerns.

In an interview, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has made it clear that New Delhi will not accept the waiver if “red lines” on any of these issues are crossed.

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