Special Correspondent

Special envoys deployed in different countries to press India’s case for the next two stages of the deal

Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon is in Berlin as Germany is the convener of the NSG.

NSG members to meet in August first week to introduce American proposal for modification of the group’s export guidelines

New Delhi: With the nuclear deal back on track, India has deployed a number of special envoys to lobby for its next two stages with countries that are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors or the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon earlier met the Austrian state secretary to press India’s case and is now in Berlin for discussions with German officials. Germany is the convener of the NSG. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on nuclear matters, Shyam Saran, is in Ireland, considered by India a particularly hard nut to crack. From there he will move on to Australia and New Zealand as well as to Bolivia, Ecudador, Chile and Brazil, all members of the IAEA Board.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal is being fielded for the Nordic countries while the rest of Europe and other ‘western’ countries like Japan are being covered by the three secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs: Nalin Surie, N. Ravi and Hardeep Puri. Special Envoy Chinmay Gharekhan will cover Saudi Arabia, Iraq and North Africa, where Algeria and Morocco are both IAEA board members. Two Ministers of State, Prithviraj Chavan and Anand Sharma, have also been pressed into service to deal with African and South-east Asian members.

Among the scenarios being discussed by Washington and New Delhi is the convening of a short plenary session of the NSG in the first week of August, wherein the American proposal for modification of the group’s export guidelines will be introduced. The draft would then be taken up for detailed examination by a handful of NSG members which form the 45-nation cartel’s consultative group. During this period, individual members will also have time to discuss the proposal in their respective capitals. Finally, the NSG plenary would be called again for the first week of September where the proposal could be approved.

In case the convening of the first plenary in early August is not possible, the American proposal can also be circulated to NSG members through the “point of contact” the group maintains in Vienna, officials said.

Pranab talks to Rice

PTI reports:

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had a telephonic talk with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and both discussed next steps in implementation of the nuclear deal. Ms. Rice told Mr. Mukherjee that she would discuss the deal during her visits abroad, including Australia and New Zealand.

The two had a “friendly and congratulatory conversation,” U.S. Ambassador David Mulford told reporters here during a telephonic press conference from the U.S.

Ms. Rice talked about the importance of India and the U.S. going to work together on the next steps – approval of India-specific safeguards agreement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a waiver by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Mr. Mulford said.

The U.S. viewed with concern Pakistan’s position at the IAEA on India-specific safeguards agreement and it was talking to it. Washington hoped Islamabad would “see things in right light” and “be cooperative.”

Mr. Mulford said his country was also talking to China and hoped Beijing would have a “positive” approach when India’s case for waiver came up at the 45-nation NSG.

Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher has said Washington hoped to get the deal through by September.