US calls on NSG members to support India’s membership

US calls on NSG members to support India's membershipWASHINGTON: In a fresh push to India’s NSG bid, the US today called on members of the 48-nation elite grouping to support India’s membership during the crucial meeting of the atomic trading club in Seoul next week.

“The United States calls on Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) participating governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG plenary,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby said.

“I’m not going to get ahead of how that’s going to go or hypothesize and speculate about where it’s going to go, but we’ve made clear that we support the application,” Kirby said in response to a question at his daily news conference.

India’s case is being strongly pushed by the US which has written to the NSG members to support India’s membership at the plenary meeting of the group expected to be held in Seoul on June 24.

US Secretary of State John Kerry recently wrote a two-page letter to member countries who are skeptical towards India’s membership of the NSG to “agree not to block consensus on Indian admission” to the group.

During the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, President Barack Obama welcomed India’s application to the 48-member grouping.

A joint statement issued after the talks between Modi and Obama said the US called on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG plenary.

While majority of the 48-member group backed India’s membership, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria were opposed to India’s admission.

China maintains opposition to India’s entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

China wants NSG membership for its close ally Pakistan if NSG extends any exemption for India.

India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.

The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.

India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its entry. The NSG works under the principle of consensus and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.–PTI

Tags: