Sunday, September 7, 2008

India's Nuclear victory

The 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) today (September 6) granted a crucial waiver to India that will enable it to carry out nuclear commerce, ending 34 years of isolation enforced in the wake of the 1974 Pokharan nuclear tests.
Following is the chronology of some key developments related to the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal:
1968: India refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) on the grounds that it is discriminatory.
May 18, 1974: India conducts its first nuclear test.
March 10, 1978: US President Jimmy Carter signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act, following which US ceases exporting nuclear assistance to India.
May 11-13, 1998: India tests five underground nuclear tests.
July 18, 2005: US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first announce their intention to enter into a nuclear agreement in Washington.
March 1, 2006: Bush visits India for the first time.
March 3, 2006: Bush and Singh issue a joint statement on their growing strategic partnership, emphasising their agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.
July 26, 2006: The US House of Representatives passes the ‘Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006,’ which stipulates that Washington will cooperate with New Delhi on nuclear issues and exempt it from signing the Nonproliferation Treaty.
July 28, 2006: The Left parties demand threadbare discussion on the issue in Parliament.
November 16, 2006: The US Senate passes the ‘United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and US Additional Protocol Implementation Act’ to "exempt from certain requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 United States exports of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to India."
December 18, 2006: President Bush signs into law congressional legislation on Indian atomic energy.
July 27, 2007: Negotiations on a bilateral agreement between the United States and India conclude.
Aug 3, 2007: The text of the ‘Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy’ (123 Agreement) is released by both governments.
Aug 13, 2007: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes a suo motu statement on the deal in Parliament.
Aug 17, 2007: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat says the ‘honeymoon (with government) may be over but the marriage can go on’.
Sept 4, 2007: UPA-Left committee to discuss nuclear deal set up.
Feb 25, 2008: Left parties say the UPA would have to choose between the deal and its government’s stability.
March 3, 2008: Left parties warn of ’serious consequences’ if the nuclear deal is operationalised.
March 6, 2008: Left parties set a deadline asking the government to make it clear by March 15 whether it intended to proceed with the nuclear deal or drop it.
March 7, 2008: CPI writes to the Prime Minister, warns of withdrawal of support if government goes ahead with the deal.
March 14, 2008: CPI(M) says the Left parties will not be responsible if the government falls over the nuclear deal.
April 23, 2008: Government says it will seek the sense of the House on the 123 Agreement before it is taken up for ratification by the American Congress.
June 17, 2008: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee meets Prakash Karat, asks the Left to allow the government to go ahead with IAEA safeguards agreement.
June 30, 2008: Prime Minister says his government prepared to face Parliament before operationalising the deal.
July 8, 2008: Left parties withdraw support to government.
July 9, 2008: The draft India-specific safeguards accord with the IAEA circulated to IAEA’s Board of Governors for approval.
July 10, 2008: Prime Minister calls for a vote of confidence in Parliament.
July 14, 2008: The IAEA says it will meet on August 1 to consider the India-specific safeguards agreement.
July 18, 2008: Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon briefs the IAEA Board of Governors and some NSG countries in Vienna on the safeguards agreement.
July 22, 2008: Government is willing to look at "possible amendments" to the Atomic Energy Act to ensure that the country’s strategic autonomy will never be compromised, says Prime Minister Singh.
July 22, 2008: UPA government wins trust vote in the Lok Sabha.
July 24, 2008: India dismisses warning by Pakistan that the deal will accelerate an atomic arms race in the sub-continent.
July 24, 2008: India launches full blast lobbying among the 45-nation NSG for an exemption for nuclear commerce.
July 25, 2008: IAEA secretariat briefs member states on India-specific safeguards agreement.
Aug 1, 2008: IAEA Board of Governors adopts India-specific safeguards agreement unanimously.
Aug 21-22, 2008: The NSG meet to consider an India waiver ends inconclusively amid reservations by some countries.
Sep 4-6, 2008: The NSG meets for the second time on the issue after the US comes up with a revised draft and grants waiver to India after marathon parleys.
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