M A I N   N E W S

Briefs Nuclear Suppliers Group
Seal 123 by Dec: US

Vienna, September 20
The US today briefed the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on the civil nuclear deal as part of its efforts to seek changes in NSG guidelines to allow nuclear trade with India.

A senior American official said, “The US wants to meet the entire pre-requisites of the operationalisation of the deal by the end of this year.” India has to work out a safeguards agreement with the IAEA and secure changes in NSG laws to operationalise the deal.

Richard J.K. Stratford, director at the Office of Nuclear Energy Affairs in the US State Department, told PTI before getting into the closed-door meeting that he would explain to the members how both India and the US arrived at the agreement.

He said he would also “put forth the conditions asked by India for a clean, unconditional exemption (from NSG rules to enable nuclear commerce).”

Stratford, who is heading the US delegation at the NSG meet, admitted that it could be a tough job. “But we will try to do it, and I am optimistic.” “We are also going to tell about the safeguards issues which India has to sort out with the IAEA,” he said.

Given the political heat the nuclear issue has generated back home, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar has chosen to steer clear of any discussions on the deal.

Asked what would India do if the NSG refrained from changing its guidelines, Kakodkar said, “We have our own programme. It will continue. The civilian cooperation with US is only an additionality for a near-term requirement.” Fast-tracking its moves to get the deal going, the US has been in touch with the 144-nation IAEA. “I think that the US-India nuclear deal is firmly intact. It’s going to be successful,” US under secretary of state for political affairs Nicholas Burns said in Ankara.

He made the remarks after he was asked “Is the India-US nuclear deal in trouble?” “We’re going to move forward on it (the deal) and you’ll see that happen in the next few months,” Burns said. — PTI


Don’t buckle down: Left

New Delhi, September 20
Left parties on Thursday asked the government to consider the “grave consequences” of US “pressures” to change India’s policy direction on various fronts before operationalising the Indo-US nuclear deal. “These instances of reconfirmation of the concerns expressed by us on the grave consequences to India’s sovereignty by this deal must be considered in right earnest by the UPA government before it proceeds to operationalise it,” CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said.

Quoting the statements of US Ambassador David Mulford and Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher about rushing up the operationalisation of the 123 agreement, both Yechury and the CPI asked the government not to succumb to American “pressures” and put the deal on hold.

Observing that Boucher wanted India not to overlook the political timetable and asked the government to come clean on Iran, Yechury said this was precisely what the Left has been saying all along.

“It is such arm twisting of India to change the direction of its policy that will increase as the nuclear deal anchored within the Hyde Act gets implemented,” he said. — PTI



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