As many as 50 amendments were proposed to a draft American text to alter the rules of the civilian nuclear game for India at last week’s meeting of the Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG).
The NSG is a 45-nation exclusive club that controls global nuclear trade.
“…Many countries spoke in favour of amendments,” said Phil Goff, New Zealand’s Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, in a statement after the Hindustan Times mailed him a set of queries on Monday.
New Zealand, it may be recalled, had taken a leading role in opposing a “clean and unconditional waiver” waiver sought by India at Vienna last week.
However, signing the non-proliferation treaty is not a clause.
“While New Zealand remains a strong advocate of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and would welcome India’s accession to these treaties, we have not included these in our package of proposals,” Goff said.
This clarification relating to the NPT and CTBT is significant, given India’s reluctance to sign them, especially the NPT.
However, other conditions, like a periodic review or denial of uranium enrichment and reprocessing technologies remain on the agenda.
“The discussions last week were robust and constructive and we look forward to continuing this dialogue around a revised draft exemption text at next month’s meeting,” said Goff.
“New Zealand engaged constructively in the discussions, acknowledging potential benefits involved in the agreement and its good relationship with both countries (India and the US) while noting concerns and the need for consistency in pursuing the objective of non-proliferation,” the minister said.
“A large number of countries, big and small, expressed views similar to New Zealand’s that there needed to be compatibility between the US-India agreement and the goals of the NSG, and indicated a willingness to engage positively to achieve that outcome,” he added.
According to Goff, NSG’s key function is to formulate guidelines for managing exports of nuclear material, equipment and technology to ensure the trade does not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.
“Discussions in Vienna focused on how to ensure compatibility of these objectives with the exemptions sought...,” he added.