'Conditional NSG waiver unacceptable'
National Security Adviser MK Narayanan makes it clear that inclusion of any clause on testing, periodic review or denial of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the text of the NSG waiver would be unacceptable.delhi Updated: Aug 30, 2008 13:47 IST
Ahead of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting, India has said it will not accept the waiver from the 45-nation grouping if the "red lines" set by it are crossed.
National Security Adviser M K Narayanan made it clear that inclusion of any clause on testing, periodic review or denial of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the text of the NSG waiver would be unacceptable and hoped a way around these issues would be found through diplomatic efforts.
"There is no question of cosmetic or otherwise. What we are really asking is, there are certain issues on which there are certain red lines drawn by us because those are the commitments that had been made by our Prime Minister," he told Karan Thapar's 'Devil's Advocate' programme when asked whether cosmetic changes would be acceptable to India.
"On red lines we cannot, that's what we told our parliament that these are sacrosanct and if these are not met we cannot endorse the agreement," Narayanan said.
Asked to comment on some NSG member countries' position that the cooperation should be terminated if India were to conduct any test, Narayanan said the usage of word testing would not be acceptable to India.
"We have always made the point that testing is a word that we find difficult to adjust to not because of anything else but because that is what parliament has mandated us to do."
"I presume testing will be difficult for us to, so we will find ways around it. We are clear that whatever we finally agree to in NSG should be something that we can sell to parliament," the National Security Adviser said.
He, however, expressed confidence that a way out would be found on this issue through "creative diplomacy".
"Hopefully we will find a way on it. I think it will be possible for us to surmount some of these obstacles.
On demands for exclusion of enrichment and reprocessing technology in the NSG waiver, he said it will not be acceptable to India.
Emphasising that India does not want to be "singled out", he said "NSG does not have ban on enrichment and reprocessing technology transfer per se... Unlike the US, none of the countries have ban in their countries (on transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology)."
"We don't want some countries' individual predilections to be performing part of huge package of items in the NSG," Narayanan said.
He said if any country does not wish to give enrichment and reprocessing technology and still wants to do nuclear commerce with India "we will draw up guidelines according to that."
He also ruled out possibility of accepting periodic review of the waiver. "It is uncalled for. We have put all the cards on the table. We have been as transparent as anyone else. We are willing to make our case before the NSG. We do not understand the need for the review mechanism," he said.
The National Security Adviser noted that the exemption was being granted for civil nuclear cooperation, which involves commerce, investing money on long-term basis of up to 30-40 years. "If we have periodic reviews, they (investors) will say it should not be done."
He said India has already flanked its concerns. "Our concerns are well known. I think most of the countries recognised the validity of our concerns. There are some countries who I think are ideologically committed to their concepts of non-proliferation and hence tend to take a sort of hardline position on this.
"I think it is a question of convincing them that India with an impeccable record in terms of non proliferation, the fact that it has always stood for universal nuke disarmament is a right candidate for nuclear commerce," he said.
Recognising that some countries have "problems" with the grant of waiver, Narayanan said India will have no objection if some of their views are reflected in the statement of the NSG Chair "as long as it does not inhibit us from what we believe is clean and unconditional waiver."
Asked whether he was confident of getting a clean exemption from the NSG, Narayanan said he was optimistic.
He said concerns of some countries were suitably dealt with but some still remain.
"I am optimistic but I will not allow optimism to override caution," he said.
Asked whether New Delhi was shown the revised NSG draft, he said "The work is in progress and I cannot tell you the details."
Narayanan said since India is not a member of the NSG, it has to depend on other countries to push its case.
He hailed the efforts made by the US, Russia, France, UK and a number of other countries in pushing India's case and said "I think we are nearing the goal."
He particularly showered praise on US Ambassador to India David Mulford in this regard.
On whether he was confident that India's concerns were taken care of, he said "Yes, constant dialogue is going on between New Delhi and the US."
He denied that India was arm-twisting or blackmailing countries like Ireland, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland who created hurdles at the NSG.
He said the support for the waiver was not a touchstone for friendly relations with any country. "I believe if anybody is friendly to us, they will benefit."
Narayanan said the outcome of the NSG meeting on August 21-22, which could not arrive at a decision to grant a waiver to India, was not a setback.
"Certainly not a debacle nor do I think it is a setback. We were prepared for this because as we were told as it may be necessary to have two rounds before finalising something which would be mutually satisfactory," he said.