Despite intense lobbying, the proposal to give India an exemption from global nuclear trade standards is in deep trouble and there is still a long distance to go, a prominent arms-control think-tank opposed to the India-United States nuclear agreement has said.
"US is still working on the revised draft and India is still demanding 'clean and unconditional' waiver. While there is still a distance to go, the proposal to give India a clean exemption from global nuclear trade standards is in deep trouble," Daryl Kimball, the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, has said.
"... As ACA had predicted, but to the apparent surprise of the Indian and US governments, more than 20 states essentially said 'no thanks' and proposed more than 50 amendments and modifications that would establish some basic, but vitally important restrictions and conditions on nuclear trade with India," he said in an e-mail statement.
"Many of these amendments track with the restrictions and conditions established in the 2006 US legislation regulating US nuclear trade with India, which include the termination of nuclear trade if India resumes testing, a ban on the transfer of uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technology, a requirement for permanent and unconditional facility- specific safeguards and a review mechanism," he said.
Kimball has said that while acknowledging India's legitimate interest in diversifying its energy options, responsible like-minded countries like -- Austria, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and others -- correctly recognise that the Bush approach is deeply flawed and would effectively end the Nuclear Suppliers' Group as a meaningful entity.
"It is vital that these and other states stand their ground," Kimball maintained.
It has been pointed out over the weekend that the US State Department worked on a revised draft proposal for consideration at the next scheduled NSG meeting on September 4-5 in Vienna.
"There are signs, however, that the process of developing a revised draft is taking so long that the other 44 members will not have sufficient time to analyse the proposal and work through their respective national political processes to enable them to take a decision by next week," Kimball said.
Furthermore, given India's continuing demands for a clean and unconditional exemption, it is unlikely that the United States can find a way to bridge differences, especially in such a short period of time, he said making the point that as of Thursday afternoon, the US had still not delivered its revised proposal to NSG Chair Germany.
"...Some Indian officials and commentators have suggested that New Delhi may walk away from the deal if the NSG establishes Hyde Act-like requirements. If that occurs, so be it," Kimball said.
"The Indian government's demands have been so unreasonable that the Bush administration simply can't ram an India-specific exemption through the NSG without accepting substantial changes and some common sense restrictions and conditions" he said.
"In addition, many NSG states have done their homework and are being reminded why the proposal to exempt India would be a nonproliferation disaster. NGOs and experts from nearly two dozen countries have been working for months to publish opeds, encourage newspapers to write editorials critical of the deal, send letters to their foreign ministers, and meet with their parliamentarians to help encourage their governments to help reduce the damage to the nonproliferation system," he added.