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No easy sailing for India at NSG

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September 07, 2008 15:30 IST
It wasn't easy sailing for India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which granted a waiver to it for nuclear commerce after hectic and tough three-day negotiations that saw both the Unites States and India mobilise all their efforts to woo the sceptics.

During the negotiations, which began on September 4, both the proponents and sceptics stuck to their positions but finally reached common ground on Saturday after American prodding and deft diplomacy by New Delhi.

On the very first day of the meeting of the 45-nation grouping, there were demands for changes in the revised draft that the US had prepared following failure to achieve consensus at the August 21-22 parleys.

As soon as the NSG reconvened for the second day, at 9.30 am (1 pm IST), work started on redrafting of the waiver to accommodate the concerns of the sceptic countries while ensuring that no clauses were incorporated which would bind India.

The grouping broke for short recesses during which the US and other countries strongly backing the initiative held intense discussions with those countries which had reservations particularly with regard to testing and transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to India.

China, which had remained silent so far, too raised questions over some aspects of the draft.

The major turning point came with the issuance of the statement by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in which he talked about India's abiding commitment to strengthening the non-proliferation system and unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

That statement went down well among the NSG members including the sceptic countries who saw a lot of their concerns being addressed through it.
Ajay Kaul in Vienna
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