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Nuclear deal fate ‘uncertain’

Siddharth Varadarajan

Vienna: One day after the Nuclear Suppliers Group failed to take a decision on an American proposal to grant India a waiver from its export guidelines, Indian officials acknowledged that the expected push to amend the draft waiver made the future of the nuclear deal uncertain.

For the record, India is sticking to the line that it continues to work with friendly countries towards the granting of an exemption from the NSG’s rules. Sticking to this script, Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon told reporters on Friday evening that India had been informed that the group had had a “positive and constructive discussion” and would meet soon to resume its examination of the India proposal. But privately, Indian officials say there is litte chance of India being able to accept changes in the American draft waiver that are anything other than cosmetic.

The question, they say, boils down to whether those NSG members who spoke out against the current proposal were merely letting out steam or fully intended to follow through with the suggestions they made. “If it is the latter, and the Americans are not able to convince them otherwise, then the deal looks very difficult from now on,” one official told The Hindu.

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