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China denies blocking NSG waiver

India signals that it would await ratification of the agreement with the United States before signing agreements with countries such as France and Russia for the purchase of nuclear reactors and fuel, reports Tushar Srivastava.

delhi Updated: Sep 09, 2008 01:08 IST
Tushar Srivastava

India signalled on Monday that it would await ratification of the agreement with the United States before signing agreements with countries such as France and Russia for the purchase of nuclear reactors and fuel.

Meanwhile, talking about the stand taken by Beijing at the NSG meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, who is on a visit to India, said: “We did not do anything to block it (consensus at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on nuclear trade with India). We played a constructive role.” “Facts speak louder than reports,” Yang told CNN-IBN after talks with PM Manmohan Singh and Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday.

Acknowledging the critical role played by the US in getting the NSG to lift sanctions on New Delhi, Mukherjee said, “As far as the procedure is concerned, now we shall have to wait for the ratification of the 123 agreement between India and the US.”

All this movement in the Indo-US civil nuclear initiative has been triggered by the NSG decision on September 6 to allow its 45 members to engage in civil nuclear trade with India.

“The approval by the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the India-specific safeguards agreement and the NSG waiver are the passports to enter into international nuclear trade,” Mukherjee said. The foreign minister said, “Through the bilateral agreements with the supplying countries, we will actually enter into the trade. After ratification of US Congress this process will begin.”

On Saturday, Rice said en route to Algiers, “… We have talked to the Indian government about this, and I think they recognise and appreciate American leadership on this issue. And because of that, I think we will have ways to talk to them about not disadvantaging American companies.”

Given that the US pulled

out all stops to get India the waiver from the NSG, New Delhi would obviously not like to queer the pitch by putting American nuclear companies at a disadvantage.