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'We won't accept any prescriptions from NSG'

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee says India will not accept any "prescriptive conditionalities" from the NSG to engage in N-trade, reports Amit Baruah.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2008 01:48 IST
Amit Baruah

India will not accept any "prescriptive conditionalities" from the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) to engage in civil nuclear trade, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday.

"We have to see what kind of amendments come. Then only we can decide," Mukherjee told reporters, adding, "But we cannot accept prescriptive conditionalities."

<b1>His comments came as Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon headed to Washington for talks on amendments to a draft text that had been agreed upon between India and the US.

The NSG has decided to meet again on September 4-5 in Vienna to consider relaxing guidelines for India to be able to buy nuclear reactors and fuel from abroad.

It now seems the issue is down to phraseology, and what might be acceptable to New Delhi and a group of eight nations, who have taken the lead at adding non-proliferation provisions to the draft waiver document.

Mukherjee's comments can be seen as a bid to tell these countries that conditions like an end to civil nuclear cooperation, in case of India testing another nuclear device, will not be acceptable to us.

Late on Friday, Menon told reporters that there had been a "narrowing of differences" among NSG members after two days of deliberations.

"…It is quite a remarkable feat that 45 different sovereign nations should decide to have one point of view over any
issue,” the IANS news agency quoted him as saying.

"No member of any delegation has told me that they are against giving India a special exemption (that the India-US nuclear deal requires).”

"Concerns remain though differences have narrowed down… The moment of truth will be when all 45 counties agree… We realise it is a process... they have to feel comfortable,” the agency said.

US lobbies New Zealand

In Auckland, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Glyn Davies, delivered a message to the government on Saturday, asking again for New Zealand’s support, a website reported.

"I mentioned it to your government… It’s been mentioned by much higher pay-grades than mine," he said, a reference to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to New Zealand.

"We think it’s important to ... go forward in a transparent fashion with India as they develop nuclear energy…"