Britain lifts ban on civilian nuclear exports to India

Britain lifts ban on civilian nuclear exports to India

London: Britain on Monday announced the lifting of a ban on exporting sensitive nuclear technology to India for civilian projects giving momentum to resumption of global atomic cooperation with New Delhi after the end of its over three decade nuclear apartheid.

The change in the position of the British government — a strong supporter of the Indo-US nuke deal — followed the Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) waiver in September that brought India back into the nuclear mainstream after 34 years of nuclear isolation following Pokhran explosions in 1974.

“UK policy has been to refuse all licence applications for Trigger List items to India," Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said.

“That policy has now changed and we will now consider on a case by case basis licence applications for peaceful use of all items on the NSG Trigger List and NSG Dual-Use List when they are destined for IAEA safeguarded civil nuclear facilities in India," Rammell told the House of Commons in a written statement.

Firms had been barred from supplying equipment and material on the Nuclear Suppliers Group “trigger list" to India since 2002 but the change in the Government’s position follows an NSG statement in September allowing an exemption from the group’s guidelines for civil nuclear facilities which are safeguarded by the IAEA.

The ban will remain in force on items destined for “unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities" or where there is an “unacceptable risk" the material might be diverted to those activities.