Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Siddique, "The NSG's sobering message," The Daily Mail, September 3, 2008.

[This report from Pakistan mentions some details about the Canadian negotiating position. -jlt]

Canada, Japan and Australia want inclusion of tighter exemption notes in the NSG waiver insisting upon the denial of enrichment and reprocessing technologies that would facilitate India to quantitatively upgrade her nuclear weapons program. Some countries, including Canada have also recommended institutionalization of a monitoring or review mechanism to ensure that India, which has primarily rested her case for the Indo – US Nuclear Deal on acquisition of nuclear based energy, should not misuse the technology for advancing her nuclear weapons program.

THE 45 member NSG plenary meeting, held in Vienna from 21 – 22 August, to clear the way for the highly paradoxical Indo US Nuclear Deal, has come about as a major disappointment to India as well as US. Not unexpectedly, many areas of discord emerged making the session inconclusive and the forum dispersed to meet again on Sep 5-6 in Vienna. A hint of disappointment, even frustration was in the air; not that the resistance was unexpected. This was made obvious by the emergence of an unmistakable edge to the tone of Indian officials and the hint of self righteous, even overbearing Indian rhetoric, directed at the countries who called into question the rationale of the waiver recommended by US to bring India into mainstream of nuclear trade. Some emerging deadlines, too, imparted a touch of make or break urgency to the ambience. With the approaching US elections scheduled in November this year as well as the convening of the Congress session due for 8 September and lasting till 26, the clock is beginning to tick for the deal. Bush Administration is keen to wrap it up as a major foreign policy feather in the cap before the President turns into a lame duck and the matter is referred to the new administration for consideration.

It is ironic that the NSG which controls the sale of nuclear technology world wide, and is now deliberating the modalities of opening its doors to India, came into being specifically in response to the nuclear detonations by India in 1974. There was a wide spread indignation then that India had grossly misused the nuclear reactor provided by US and Canada for civilian nuclear research to purloin plutonium that was used for developing a nuclear device. It speaks of the change in the global imperatives that NSG was meeting now in Vienna to debate the proposed draft US waiver that would open for India the route to trade in nuclear technology and materials without signing the NPT.

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