Washington: India should meet the Nuclear Suppliers Group's standards and open talks with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons if it wants to push its case for membership in the 48-nation elite group, a leading US daily said today.
In a lead editorial 'The New York Times' said that America should press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.
India's application for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is slated for discussion later this month.
"Obama is lobbying for India to win membership through a special exception," 'The Times' editorial board said, ahead of the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.
"If he succeeds, India would be in a position to keep Pakistan, which has also applied for membership, from gaining membership because group decisions must be unanimous," the editorial said, adding that this could give Pakistan, which at one time provided nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran, new incentives to misbehave.
Opposition from China, which is close to Pakistan and views India as a rival, could doom India's bid for now, it said, adding that the issue, however, will not go away.
India is growing in importance and seeking greater integration into organisations that govern international affairs, it said.
"If it wants recognition as a nuclear weapons state, it should be required to meet the nuclear group's standards, including opening negotiations with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons and halting the production of nuclear fuel for bombs," the editorial said.
The report alleged that for years the US had sought to bend the rules for India's nuclear programme to maintain India's cooperation on trade and to counter China's growing influence.
"As part of the 2008 deal, the Indians promised they would be 'ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices' as other nations with advanced nuclear technology.
"But they have fallen far short by continuing to produce fissile material and to expand their nuclear arsenal," alleged the editorial board of the newspaper.
The NSG governs trade in nuclear-related exports and aims to ensure that civilian trade in nuclear materials is not diverted for military uses.