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US Sends Senior Officials to Nuclear Meeting on India

  • VOA News

The U.S. State Department is sending a high-ranking delegation to Vienna to attend a critical meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group on India's nuclear program.

The 45-nation group will meet on Thursday and Friday to review a new U.S. plan crafted after several member countries rejected Washington's bid to win a trade waiver for India.

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns and State Department arms control chief John Rood will represent the U.S. side.

In a landmark deal, the United States has agreed to sell nuclear fuel and technology to India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Both New Delhi and Washington want a "clean and unconditional" waiver for India. But some supplier nations have pushed for conditions, including the revocation of trade privileges should India conduct another nuclear weapons test.

Before the U.S. Congress can give the deal final approval, it has to be cleared by both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear suppliers' consortium.

Last month, the IAEA approved crucial details of the plan but the NSG has failed to reach a decision.

Without early NSG approval, the U.S. Congress may run out of time for ratification before it adjourns at the end of the month for the November U.S. presidential election.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group imposed its nuclear trade ban in the 1970s after India tested its first atomic bomb.

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