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International community split over U.S.-India nuclear deal

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A controversial US-India nuclear energy deal is expected to face a stiff challenge later this week from countries that adamantly oppose nuclear proliferation.

The deal, finalized by Washington and New Delhi in August 2007, would lift a 34-year embargo on the transfer of nuclear material to India, thereby allowing it access to foreign nuclear technology and supplies. The deal is seen as a strategic move on the part of the United States to cement relations with its booming democratic partner in Asia and counterbalance China's rise.

But critics say the deal will roll back decades of efforts to limit the global spread of nuclear materials and create a dangerous precedent for other would-be nuclear powers such as Iran.

Despite fierce lobbying by the US and India to push the deal through, several holdouts – including New Zealand, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, and Norway – could still scuttle the plan. Those countries are members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which meets in Vienna on Thursday and must reach consensus on the deal for it to pass.

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