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Page last updated at 05:55 GMT, Friday, 22 August 2008 06:55 UK

Key India nuclear talks continue

TIMETABLE FOR NUCLEAR ACCORD
India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, located 30km from Mumbai (Bombay)
Approval required from 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group
US Congress to approve deal before President Bush signs it into law
All this to happen before Mr Bush's tenure expires in January 2009

International talks are due to resume in Vienna to discuss whether to lift a 30-year global ban on the sale of civilian nuclear materials to India.

A waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would help India finalise a nuclear deal with the US.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has already backed the controversial deal.

India's government says the deal is vital to meet its energy demands.

Critics of the deal say it creates a dangerous precedent - allowing India access to fuel and technology without requiring it to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as other countries must do.

Those opposed to lifting the ban say it would undermine the arguments for isolating Iran over its nuclear programme.

'Differences'

"Naysayers set to delay India decision", reported India's The Hindu newspaper on the opening day of talks on Thursday, alluding to differences between some member countries over lifting the ban.

"...Internal differences within the cartel [NSG] will lead to any decision being deferred to a second sitting to be convened perhaps two weeks from now," the newspaper reported.

Indian officials made a presentation to explain India's policy to the NSG members on Thursday.

The nuclear deal is being strongly pushed by the Bush administration and must also be ratified by the US Congress.

The deal would allow India to enter the world market in nuclear fuel and technology - as long as it is for civilian purposes.

It had previously been banned from doing so under the terms of a 30-year embargo imposed because of its testing of atomic bombs and refusal to join the global NPT.

Under the terms of the accord, India would get access to US civilian nuclear technology and fuel.

In return, Delhi would open its civilian nuclear facilities to inspection - but its nuclear weapons sites would remain off-limits.

Correspondents say that 14 of India's 22 existing or planned reactors would come under regular Iaea surveillance if the deal goes ahead.

The US restricted nuclear co-operation with India after it first tested a nuclear weapon in 1974.

Critics fear assistance to India's civil programme could free-up additional radioactive material for bomb-making purposes.




SEE ALSO
Indian government survives vote
22 Jul 08 |  South Asia
IAEA sets date for India proposal
15 Jul 08 |  South Asia

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