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India brushes off NAM comments on nuclear cooperation


New Delhi : India Tuesday brushed off comments by Iran and other Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) members asking the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to forbid any cooperation with those countries who have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“They have certain viewpoints. We respect that,” former foreign secretary Shyam Saran told reporters when asked about observations of certain NAM countries at the meeting of the preparatory committee for the 2010 NPT review conference in Geneva.

“India is not seeking any special privilege. It’s not an embarrassment to us. It’s the standard position of the NAM,” the prime minister’s special envoy on the nuclear deal said, indicating that the position of those countries of NAM which have signed the NPT did not come as a surprise to India.

Indonesia, making a statement on behalf of NPT countries of the NAM, has called for a “complete prohibition” of transfer of nuclear technology and fuel to the countries which are not members of the NPT – an ambiguous reference that could be interpreted to mean India and Israel.

Iran, which is suspected of developing nuclear weapons, endorsed Indonesia’s view and pitched for denying nuclear technology and fuel to the non-NPT signatories.

India and the US three years ago struck a civil nuclear cooperation accord that paves the way for the resumption of global civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi after a gap of nearly three decades.

The US has justified making an exception for India, a non-signatory to the NPT, from the global non-proliferation regime saying the resumption of global nuclear cooperation with New Delhi will strengthen the global proliferation regime due to the latter’s record in non-proliferation.

The India-US civil nuclear deal is currently languishing in domestic political opposition. Two key steps – India’s safeguards pact with the IAEA and a change in guidelines by the NSG – are yet to be completed.

After concluding these two steps, the deal has to be ratified by the US Congress before it can lead to resumption of global nuclear trade with India.