** CORRECTS TITLE FORMAT ** U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns speaks to reporters in Vienna, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, where a nuclear supplier group resumed closed-door talks on a deal that would allow the U.S. and other nations to supply India with nuclear material and technology for civilian use. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
VIENNA, Austria - The Nuclear Suppliers Group approved a contentious U.S. plan to sell peaceful nuclear material technology to India, delegates at the 45-nation talks said Saturday.
The officials, who met in Vienna, spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the closed door proceedings.
But they said the talks overcame misgivings expressed by Austria, Ireland and New Zealand. One delegate said Saturday's session produced "a total consensus" on the deal, which would reverse more than three decades of U.S. policy toward India.
India has tested atomic weapons and refused to sign international nonproliferation treaties.
The U.S. needed approval from the nuclear group, which governs the legal trade in nuclear components and technology.
The deal still also needs authorization from U.S. Congress, and the Bush administration has been racing to get acceptance before lawmakers recess for the rest of the year to devote time to their re-election campaigns.
Austria issued a statement saying it lifted its objections after India pledged Friday not to touch off a new nuclear arms race or share sensitive nuclear technology with other countries. Austria's government called that pledge "decisive."
Before the nuclear group approved the deal, U.S. officials had contended that selling peaceful nuclear technology to India would bring the country's atomic program under closer scrutiny and boost — not undermine — international nonproliferation efforts.