Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Zealand position on US-India Civil Nuclear Arrangement

Sorry for my continuing obsession with this. My reading of Goff's comments to media outlets in Australia and India on the US-India civil nuclear agreement seems to be confirmed by this press release from Goff. New Zealand is not expecting India to sign either the NPT or the test ban treaty. This is contrary to the surprisingly scant reporting I have seen from New Zealand sources. This release has been widely reported in India.

“While New Zealand remains a strong advocate of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and would welcome India’s accession to these treaties, we have not included these elements in our package of proposals.

“New Zealand engaged constructively in the discussions, acknowledging potential benefits involved in the Agreement and its good relationship with both countries, while noting concerns and the need for consistency in pursuing the objective of non-proliferation.

Rather the Government is seeking stronger protections in the sale of nuclear equipment and technology. These are characterized as 50 amendments to the proposed text rather than an outright rejection of the intent of the US-India deal which was to bring the Indian civilian nuclear industry into the mainstream without India joining the NPT.

Around 50 amendments have been proposed to the original text, with many countries speaking in favour of amendments.

“The key function of the NSG is to formulate guidelines for managing exports of nuclear material, equipment and technology to ensure that this trade does not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation.

Update: Contrary to my disparaging comments just now Audrey Young did have a good article on this issue prior to the NSG meeting last week.

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