US urges NSG members to support India's membership despite China's concerns

During the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, US President Barack Obama welcomed India's application to the NSG.

Updated: Jun 17, 2016, 10:13 AM IST
US urges NSG members to support India's membership despite China's concerns

Washington: Amid China's concerns that India's membership into the elite grouping will shake the strategic balance in South Asia, the US has urged members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to support New Delhi's bid.

"The United States calls on Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) participating governments to support India's application when it comes up at the NSG plenary, which I think is next week," State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference on Thursday.

"I'm not going to get ahead of how that's going to go or hypothesise 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.

 

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

The US has been pushing for India's NSG membership.

Earlier, ahead of a meeting here US Secretary of State John Kerry had written a letter to the NSG member countries which are not supportive of India's bid, saying they should "agree not to block consensus on Indian admission".

A joint statement issued after 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 later this month in Seoul.

 

India, though not a member, enjoys the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules for its atomic cooperation deal with the US.

The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country's vote against India will scuttle its bid.

An influential Chinese daily on Thursday said China could support New Delhi's entry into the NSG if it promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

As India has not signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) or the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), it was not fit to get into the NSG, a commentary in the Global Times said.

"Beijing welcomes New Delhi playing a role as a major power in global governance, including producing a positive effect in a nuclear non-proliferation organization," said the commentary by Fu Xiaoqiang of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"As long as all NSG members reach a consensus over how a non-NPT member could join the NSG, and India promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while sticking to its policy of independence and self-reliance, China could support New Delhi's path toward the club," it said.

 

Commentaries in the English-language Global Times are generally known to reflect the views of the leadership of the Communist Party of China.

NSG membership would grant India global acceptance as a legitimate nuclear power, the commentary said.