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Move on nuclear trade surprises India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 11
Though surprised, India is not unduly perturbed at this stage over the G-8 countries’ move to adopt a joint statement on non-proliferation, vowing to ban the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to countries which have not signed the controversial nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

“We got a clean waiver from the nuclear suppliers’ group (NSG) that allows us to engage in nuclear trade and the G-8 move will not have any direct implication on us. However, we are concerned about the timing of the resolution,” official sources here said.

The sources observed that the G-8 resolution went against the spirit of the NSG's decision, amending its strict rules at the initiative of US last September to permit India to join the nuclear mainstream. They said the G-8 resolution was not binding on India in any manner as New Delhi was working on nuclear deals with individual countries and not with any grouping as such. Countries like Russia and France obviously would gain a lot from the nuclear accords with India and the loser could obviously be the US.

However, what has come as a surprise to Indian officials is the fact that such a resolution was adopted by the G-8 countries at their summit at L’Aquila where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too was present. The G-8 articulation on non-proliferation was buried in a separate document, which did not even attract the proper attention of the media.

“In order to reduce the proliferation risks associated with the spread of enrichment and reprocessing facilities, equipment and technology, we welcome the progress that continues to be made by the NSG on mechanisms to strengthen controls on transfer of such enrichment and reprocessing items and technology,” said the joint statement.

While noting that the NSG has not yet reached consensus on this issue, the G-8 nations said: “We agree that NSG discussions have yielded useful and constructive proposals contained in the NSG’s ‘clean text’ developed at the November 20, 2008, consultative group meeting.” Pending completion of work in the NSG, the statement said, “We agree to implement this text on a national basis next year.”

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