Wednesday, August 06, 2008

At Vienna on August 21

Indian docks to NSG

Indian diplomatic machine has been whirring at the fullest since IAEA consensus stamp on August 01. The next stop is NSG where its 45 members will have deliberations on the 'most envied' waiver that determines nuclear supplies to India.

"The NSG was created following the explosion in 1974 of a nuclear device by a non-nuclear-weapon State, which demonstrated that nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused," stated on the website of NSG. It's a rare coincidence that the conglomerate, which was created in response of India's first nuclear explosion-Pokhran-I, is ready to discuss India nuclear waiver issue and in all likelihood will give India the 'clean and unconditional' waiver.

It shows that a lot of water has been flown in the Ganges and Mississippi in 34 years. India's nuclear record is clean and she has demonstrated the way all along in spite of being non-signatory to NPT or CTBT. “The NSG guidelines require comprehensive safeguards (applicable only to NPT countries) and since India has both civil and military programmes, we have a unique position. Therefore, such comprehensive safeguards are not relevant to India. Hence, clean exemption from that is what we are seeking,” said Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar.

In the domestic politics Communists attempt to abort the Indo-US nuclear cooperation has been foiled and at the Capitol Hill the Bush administration at her last leg is trying hard to push the deal; the implications will go far and wide. However, some people are not so positive and think that the deal will face speed-breakers. The administration's plan is to present the 123 Agreement to the Congress by September 8 and complete the debate in next month itself. The spin-masters are on overdrive and careful that in case of lame duck session is not going to convene the agreement should pass through the Congress.

Countries like Norway, Ukraine, and New Zealand are more vocal against of the India specific deal. Visiting Japanese foreign minister also seemed non-committal to the N-deal. "Tokyo understands India’s energy needs but wanted to be sure that Indo-US nuclear deal will not undermine non-proliferation efforts."

With backing from four of the five P-5 nuclear countries it seems that India will sail through easily on August 21 in NSG. China along with Australia may try to scuttle the process but it is to be watched closely and in the changed geo-political environment many alignments will go topsy-turvy.

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