Indian officials meet representatives of skeptic NSG member countries

Nuclear Suppliers GroupVienna, Sept 5: On day one of the second round of meeting of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) here, senior Indian officials met representatives of the few member countries, who are skeptic about granting India access to nuclear fuel, in an effort to persuade them to support granting waiver to India.

Countries like New Zealand Austria, Norway, Ireland, The Netherlands and Switzerland have expressed their reservation to grant India specific waiver and raised questions at the NSG meeting on Thursday, particularly with regard to the issue of nuclear testing.

Soon after the deliberations of the opening day of the two-day meeting of the NSG concluded, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Prime Minister's Special Envoy Shyam Saran met diplomats of these countries in an attempt to allay their apprehensions.

“We have made progress,” a Canadian diplomat said at the end of Thursday’s sessions. Meetings continued through the day, in small and large groups, to thrash out the differences.

According to reports, the U. S. is expected to consult overnight with the handful of countries still holding out and then talk to the Indian delegation in Vienna, with a view to develop a new draft waiver by Friday.

“The number of countries who favour this going through now is quite large, certainly more than before,” said a diplomat.

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns, who is heading the US delegation in Vienna said: 'We are making steady progress in this process and will continue to make progress, And while a number of representatives here have raised important questions that need to be addressed, our discussions have been constructive and clearly aimed at reaching an early consensus."

Meanwhile, the Centre has made it clear that it will never compromise on India's sovereignty on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal. (ANI)