Washington: The landmark India-US civil nuclear deal has not complicated efforts to achieve universalisation of the Additional Protocol for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards as a condition for nuclear supply, according to a top aide of President Barack Obama.
"I can`t say that that, in and of itself, has complicated efforts to achieve universal adherence to the additional protocol," Susan Burk, Obama`s special representative for nuclear non-proliferation, told Arms Control Today, the journal of the Arms Control Association.
To facilitate the India-US nuclear deal the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 agreed to allow civil nuclear trade with India even though it doesn`t allow comprehensive IAEA safeguards covering all of its nuclear facilities.
But the issue of the US-Indian deal and the broader India deal does get raised by countries in discussing obligations they need to assume and responsibility under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), she said in an interview on the 40th anniversary of the NPT that entered into force on March 5, 1970.
"Yes. It gets raised frequently in NPT discussions, and our response is that it was seen as a way to bring India closer to the non-proliferation norm, to an agreement that would in the end bring more of their facilities under safeguards," Burk said. "That was the motivation. But it does come up frequently in discussions."
Burk said in the interview that key challenges to the NPT include "North Korea`s withdrawal from the treaty and Iran`s [nuclear] programme."
But she also pointed to "an improved atmosphere" that is "very positive, in large part due to the United States` embrace of multilateral diplomacy in a very significant way, and also because of the disarmament proposals that the United States and President Obama have put forward. So I think we`re in a good position."
On the question of whether the May 3-28 NPT review conference will agree to a final document, Burk said "I would have to say personally it would be very positive if we could agree on a statement, a forward-looking statement."
"We are prepared to work very hard with our NPT partners to see what we can do on that. But we think we ought to be striving for quality, not quantity," she said. Perhaps if we go for something brief and concise but specific, we might be able to be successful. But success can be defined in other ways as well."
The overarching goal of the conference will be to "revalidate the importance of the treaty for international and regional security and stability," Burk said.