Manipal, India — Contrary to the expectations of Congress Party boss Sonia Gandhi and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, last week's special meeting in Vienna of the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group ended in deadlock. The meeting had been requested by the United States to approve George W. Bush's quest for a "clean waiver" for the resumption of nuclear trade with India – commerce that had been frozen since India's 1974 nuclear test.
Tellingly, all but one of the countries opposing India were either European, or of largely European stock. The one exception was Japan, a country that prides itself on its people being the "Westerners of the East."
Expectedly, Austria led the Euro-attack against the proposed exemption, reiterating the bloc’s 34-year demand that India be forced to accept full-scope safeguards on all its nuclear facilities, as well as sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Finland, Switzerland and Ireland joined hands with Japan in backing the Austrian stand, even though each had been individually made aware by Indian negotiators that any such conditions would result in India walking away from the deal.
Unfortunately for backers of the deal, reports reaching New Delhi suggest that the Bush point person for the talks, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation John Rood, proved to be less than enthusiastic about securing a clean waiver for India. In this, Rood is following in the path of his predecessor Robert Joseph, who had also been unenthusiastic about the deal. Both are members of the U.S. nonproliferation mainstream that for decades has focused on India – a state that has never proliferated its technology beyond its own borders – while doing little about U.S. policies that have winked at proliferation by Pakistan, China and North Korea.