Even as the US Congress deliberates the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, France has promised that it will pitch for India at the plenary session of the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in Rio de Janeiro later this month. While major countries in the world have started supporting the deal, the Scandinavian nations are expected to be the last holdouts.
So far, the US, France, UK, and Russia have promised support to India and
Germany was a recent semi-convert
after the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his interaction with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. China has remained ambivalent often-sending confusing messages on its support to the deal.
The New Agenda Coalition comprising nuclear aspirant and nuclear ayatollah nations such as Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, and Sweden have raised “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) concerns” and asking for full safeguards be extended to India. Pakistan has also been leading a parallel effort in the US lobbying for equal treatment and interestingly raising concerns on possible fissile material proliferation from India.
Apparently, India has stepped up diplomatic offensive to rope in more support for the deal from NSG nations. It has dispatched senior diplomats to Brazil and South Africa, has briefed delegations from Japan and Australia, and will also address a senior delegation from Argentina. To show that it is serious about the plan, India has also placed in Parliament a separation plan to show how the nation’s civilian and military facilities are sandboxed away from each other. It has also passed legislation to tighten export of nuclear technologies.
France is one of the strongest supporters of granting an exemption for India. It has been lobbying since the 1990s that India should be granted an exemption based on its non-proliferation record. Analysts hope that France will “deliver” a European Union consensus for India.