Mumbai: India expects unconditional exemption from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG, to buy fuel and technology for its energy plan, Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the country’s Atomic Energy Commission, said on Monday.
“NSG exemption should be clean and there should be no additional condition,” Kakodkar said. “They may want to push, but India can’t be pushed. Civil nuclear cooperation is important, but that doesn’t mean at any cost.”
The group, set up 34 years ago to prevent countries from copying India’s route to the atomic bomb, adjourned after a second day of meetings in Vienna on 22 August. NSG needs to vote unanimously on a US-Indian agreement to lift its ban on the trade of nuclear fuels and technology, imposed after India’s first nuclear test in 1974.
Counting the cost: A file photo of Anil Kakodkar, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission during a convocation ceremony at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in July. Photograph: Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
The accord would allow India to satisfy rising energy demands through the purchase of nuclear reactor technology. The International Atomic Energy Agency has endorsed a plan for inspections of India’s nuclear plants, a crucial step toward implementing the accord.
“The US and India stand shoulder-to-shoulder in their desire for a clean exception and we will continue to work with our Indian partners to persuade NSG countries,” David Mulford, US ambassador to India, said in a statement on Monday.
The two countries will continue joint advocacy for the initiative at the highest levels before the scheduled NSG plenary on 4 September, Mulford said.
China, some European countries and New Zealand resist the deal because they oppose supplying nuclear technology to atomic weapons states outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The US Congress needs to ratify the accord after the backing of NSG is secured.