US supports clean NSG exception for India



Washington: The Obama administration has said it fully supports the "clean" Nulcear Suppliers Group exception for India and speedy implementation of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.

"Nothing about the new Enrichment and Reprocessing (ENR) transfer restrictions agreed to by NSG members should be construed as detracting from the unique impact and importance of the US-India agreement or our commitment to full civil nuclear cooperation," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

Nuland said efforts in the NSG to strengthen controls on the transfers of ENR are consistent with long-standing US policy that pre-dates the Civil Nuclear Agreement and have been reaffirmed on an annual basis by the G-8 for years.

This new guideline reflects a consensus among all NSG smembers, she said.

"The NSG's NPT references, including those in the ENR guidelines, in no way detract from the exception granted to India by NSG members in 2008 and in no way reflect upon India's nonproliferation record," she said.

These references reinforce the commitment of NSG members to prevent the transfer of items that could be used for weapons purposes, which is the mission of the regime itself and a basic nonproliferation principle shared by India, Nuland said.

Reiterating that the US remains fully committed to expanding civil nuclear cooperation with India, she said the Obama Administration has also made clear its strong support for India's full membership in the four export control regimes, including the NSG, in a phased manner.

"We were pleased that Foreign Secretary (Nirupama) Rao led an Indian delegation on an outreach visit to the NSG in the Hague earlier this spring, and were pleased that India's expression of interest in membership has been an active topic of discussion at the plenary this week," the US official said.

PTI