Sunday, September 14, 2008

Still waiting for final whistle on US-India nuclear trade

It appears that the backdown last week at the Nuclear Suppliers Group may have been associated with some private side agreements restricting the sale of fuel enrichment and reprocessing technology to India and other countries that are not signatories of the NPT. The report in the Washington Post is here.

The Arms Control Wonk discusses it here and here.

Kessler cites “sources familiar with the discussions” making two claims:

1. “[The NSG] privately agreed last weekend that none of its members plans to sell sensitive technologies to India .. [to] persuade several skeptical member states to support a waiver authorizing nuclear trade with India…”

2. “The NSG separately is nearing consensus on a total ban on sensitive sales to countries such as India that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty … [This was] another factor in persuading countries such as Ireland, New Zealand and Austria to end their effort to write such trade restrictions into the waiver for India.”

This doesn't seem to address the question of what happens if or when India tests a nuclear bomb but it definitely represents a significant win over the public version of the deal.

Those of you interested in Kim Jong-il should be reading the Arms Control Wonk also.

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