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Don’t exempt India, critics to NSG

world Updated: Aug 14, 2008 22:47 IST

The Washington-based Arms Control Association has asked nuclear exporting countries to reject “as unsound and irresponsible” a US proposal to exempt India from the group’s guidelines without any additional conditions.

“One of the most notable and troublesome features” of the US proposal is the weak and very ambiguous language in section 2, which is ostensibly meant to outline what India has done that qualifies it for a special exemption from Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines, says executive director Daryl G. Kimball.

The arms control lobby which has consistently opposed the India-US nuclear deal on Wednesday published what it described as the US proposal to exempt India from existing nuclear trade restrictions maintained by the 45-member NSG. The NSG is due to meet August 20-21 in Vienna for an extraordinary plenary meeting to discuss the US proposal to facilitate the India-US civil nuclear deal and may convene again to vote on the initiative as early as September. The implementing 123 agreement can be sent to the US Congress for ratification only after it gets NSG clearance.

The current US proposal would simply “recognise” India’s commitments and actions that were outlined in the July 2005 joint statement by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kimball said in an accompanying analysis.

The current proposal leaves it up to each individual NSG member to decide if India is or is not meeting these weak standards and loose commitments before they sell nuclear technology and materials, including technologies the US may not be willing to sell, to India, Kimball said.

Calling the Bush administration’s proposed India-specific exemption as “a non-proliferation disaster” he said the treaty could effectively end the NSG as a meaningful entity.