| GEO World|
| US wants NSG to soften its stance on New Delhi|
| Updated at: 1747 PST, Saturday, August 30, 2008|
NEW DELHI: The United States has told six nations its bid to lift a global ban on nuclear trade with India has stumbled over their objections and pressed them at a New Delhi meeting to give way, diplomats said on Friday.
Members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group have balked at approving a waiver to its rules allowing business with India without conditions to help finalize Washington's 2005 civilian nuclear energy deal with New Delhi.
An August 21-22 NSG meeting ended inconclusively after the six nations, with at least tacit support of 15 more, sought changes to the U.S. waiver draft to ensure Indian access to nuclear markets would not indirectly benefit its atomic bomb program.
The U.S.-India deal has dismayed pro-disarmament nations and campaigners since India is outside the global Non-Proliferation Treaty and developed nuclear bombs in the 1970s with Western technology imported ostensibly for peaceful atomic energy.
Washington had been expected to rework the waiver draft for consideration at a second NSG meeting set for September 4-5 in Vienna. NSG decisions are reached by consensus.
"We have made it quite clear that we are interested in a clean waiver...," Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi on Friday. "We have presented our case. We have made our position clear to interlocutors".
Some analysts saw his statement as a softening of an earlier demand for an "clean, unconditional" waiver, which could bring billions of dollars in contracts for major nuclear exporters.
But diplomats, asking for anonymity due to political sensitivities, said the redrafting had run into Indian challenges and the U.S. envoy to New Delhi protested to the leading six NSG hardliners at a meeting on Thursday.