Siddharth Varadarajan

Journalist | Writer | Analyst

NSG update @ 1415 – The deal is done (and it’s a good deal)

At 11:56 Vienna time, the first SMS landed on the cell phone of an Indian official waiting nervously at the Intercontinental Hotel several miles away from where the Nuclear Suppliers Group was meeting to take a decision on a waiver for India from the cartel’s trade rules.

Within seconds, the other members of the team started getting messages from officials from ‘friendly countries’ within the NSG plenary.

The messages all more or less said the same thing. The waiver is through!

I just came away from a press conference by Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon. I have also had a chance to speak off the record with a number of diplomats — European and Indian.

The text approved incorporated some changes to the second draft which was circulated last week. These changes do not cross any of India’s red lines, and they were seen by NSG members as genuinely strengthening the nonproliferation regime.

I shall provide more details in The Hindu tomorrow but based on what I have heard and seen, the waiver allows India to enter into full civil nuclear cooperation with members of the NSG. A major new change is a reference to the External Affairs minister’s statement yesterday reiterating India’s nonproliferation commitments, including to its unilateral, voluntary moratorium. There are no post-conditions providing for automatic termination of supply if some member state feels India is not living up to its non-proliferation commitments. The NSG always has the right to consult and convene in case members feel this has happened but a decision to cut off supplies will have to be adopted by consensus. There are no separate restrictions on enrichment and reprocessing technology exports.

I know this is like waving a red rag at a lot of people but I’m going to say it anyway: The waiver is as close to being “clean and unconditional” as it can get. (Take that, Mr. Mulford)

Today is a historic day. The NSG has acted wisely and creatively to strengthen the international nonproliferation regime.

13 comments on “NSG update @ 1415 – The deal is done (and it’s a good deal)

  1. Renjith Nair
    September 21, 2008

    I wish to see what will be the face value of this waiver & exemptions if India go to do a Nuclear test TOMORROW or ANYTIME or If India decides to go ahead with LPG pipeline project with Iran. Legacy Of Americans tell us they will lick as long as one being obedient to them otherwise they will suck. Also, I hope Manmohan singh would be alive that time. As always, Illiterate (Sorry, I meant to say common man is still don”t know what is this deal, they just know their daily life is MISERABLE because of UNAFFORDABLE COST OF LIVING) and comic goons are on the street celebrating beating drums as if they got independence from Americans!!. Almost 75% of Indians are still living in utter poverty not because our country didn”t have NSG waiver and Nuclear deal. Now we are forced to believe that India remains the poorest because we didn”t have this deal.They people who are going to prosper by this deal are a group of American businessmen,a section of NRIs acting as middlemen and CROOKED POLITICIANS IN INDIA.That will remain as a truth.If this deal is all about ending acute power crisis in this country, the people all the way praising this deal should wait and see whether this will end the electricity appetite of this nation and how it is going to elevate the poor people of this country. A country with no specific and strict protocols to stop the simple technical faults, transmission leaks and THEFT in electrical transmission systems yet. A country where disaster management,planning & coordination is a myth even in this 21st Century. Still millions are left out homeless in floods every year. who care about them???? I am wondering what this deal is all about!. “INDIA IS MY COUNTRY AND I AM PROUD OF BEING AN INDIAN” But that words never matched the deeds in this country by its leaders.It is 21st century and India became worst than certain improvished African countries in many aspects if not all.Look at the the utterpoverty,Illiteracy,uncontrolled population growth,rampant corruption,bribery,beurocracy,violence,terrorism,dirty politics,Pseudo-secularism,appeasement politics..WHAT NOT THERE. Unless and until you correct the fundamentals and basic needs of this country It is just a fantasy dream that India become a superpower.For that we need is a realistic approach..visionary leaders..national integrity and patriotism. Nuclear deal will not fill the stomach of poor people in this country.It is rubbish and foolishness when someone said Nuclear deal will bring down inflation!!!!.What a pity state of affair! What kind of leaders our people choose and send to parliament, and the people shall have to pay the price for it. What a pity situation of my country!.People are being treated as idiots by their own leaders. This what is Indian democracy!. Indians will have to wait for many years and luckly if there is a visionary leader with strong political will and nationalistic agenda, then their dreams can be fullfilled. Otherwise the pockets of polticians are only going to be filled with currencies!“PEOPLE GET WHAT THEY DESERVE”GOD SAVE THIS COUNTRY.

  2. j kimball
    September 7, 2008

    quote “ Anonymous said… If you think nuclear power is going to bring economic growth and reduce poverty and hunger, you must be under some stupendous illusion.“Nuclear power can surely support economic growth. The growth comes itself by the way of actions of enterprising populace. In addition, managing the business og nuclear technology and also export of it, will enhance business opportunities and many fields – thus contributing to the growth. It is up to India what it can make of it.

  3. Sid
    September 7, 2008

    @m and @anonymousI am sorry for assuming things were crystal clear. There is no contradiction in my position in the op-ed and my welcoming the NSG waiver.1. The NSG waiver is a great thing. India is now free to buy from the world, on terms which have nothing to do with what is there in the Hyde Act or 123 or Berman-Lantos letter.2. I stand by everything in today’s op-ed (Bush-Berman bombshell) and there will be more from me in similar vein.3. What has happened, in a funny sort of way, is the best possible outcome. You have got your clean and unconditional waiver, the US tried for Hyde-type conditions in the NSG and failed (you’ll have to wait for my book for the gory details of what happened between the first NSG meeting on Aug 21-22 and the second one this week!), they were forced by circumstances to bat strongly for you at the NSG and deliver the holdouts, and they have gone and scored an own-goal by making it impossible for any self-respecting government or people to proceed with the 123 agreement and trade with India given the uncertainty they themselves have cast on the provisions.

  4. Anonymous
    September 7, 2008

    If you think nuclear power is going to bring economic growth and reduce poverty and hunger, you must be under some stupendous illusion.

  5. Anonymous
    September 7, 2008

    India should not test a weapon unless China or someone else tests first, period.We got what we wanted. Let’s use it for what we really NEED – economic growth that reduces poverty and uplifts the masses who worry more about tomorrow’s food rather than fighting China.NO TEST.

  6. Anonymous
    September 7, 2008

    India may have got a waiver. But that in no way detracts from the fact that, as the state dept.’s letter to Lantos clearly has revealed, there are huge differences in the perceptions between the two countries of the 123 agreement. Whatever happened to your view in your Berman-Bush bombshell piece and the stake being driven piece? You cannot wish them away just because you now have a waiver. As per Article 3 of the draft waiver, what Trigger List itsems Russia or france may agree to transfer will now be required to be shared with all NSG members and the US may put a spoke if it is not in line with their thinking on what can be transferred and what cannot be, including fuel supplies and reprocessing conditions. So the whole thing is now a multilateral game, which is what Hyde Act actually desired and that the US has achieved by modifying Article 3 of the waiver. I suppose the final one will also have this, as you yourself have indicated. I am surprised you still think it is a good deal.

  7. Anonymous
    September 7, 2008

    Did you realize the adjective credible is completely superfluous and irrelevant. because if it is not credible, it is no detrrent at all!

  8. Anonymous
    September 6, 2008

    J Kimball,Its “minimum CREDIBLE nuclear deterrent” not “minimum nuclear deterrent”.We do not want anything beyond “minimum CREDIBLE nuclear deterrence”

  9. J Kimball
    September 6, 2008

    This is a good day for India and they should make most of it by truly applying the beefits of civil nuclear technology to the indian society. At the same time, they should resist temptations to anything that goes beyond minimum nuclear deterrent in sync with the current secuirty environment.

  10. M
    September 6, 2008

    fantastic to hear you sound optimistic about the final deal, especially in view of the tone of your op-ed this morning. And, from an ordinary citizen – thanks for the steady stream of updates from ground zero. Exciting times for India.

  11. Anonymous
    September 6, 2008

    Devil is in ther details, what were the exact changes?

  12. Anonymous
    September 6, 2008

    Have them put the official deal in full with all amendments etc.. online for all to see. After last fiasco, this must be done.

  13. manoj joshi
    September 6, 2008

    Very well done, by you as well Sid

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This entry was posted on September 6, 2008 by in Nuclear Issues.



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