New Zealand softens stand on India's NSG membership bid as Pakistan lobbies for its application
New Zealand is now pressing for a criteria-based approach for inducting new members as against giving one-time exception to any country.
New Delhi: Ahead of the key plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on June 24 where its membership bid would be taken up, India got a boost with New Zealand softening its stand on the country's application for entry into the elite nuclear club.
As per a report in The Times of India, New Zealand is now pressing for a criteria-based approach for inducting new members as against giving one-time exception to any country.
New Zealand was among the countries including Turkey, South Africa, Ireland, Austria and China which had been opposing India's NSG membership bid ahead of the group's preliminary meeting in Vienna last week.
While New Zealand and some other countries have relented on their position following an appeal by US Secretary of State John Kerry, China and Turkey are continuing to maintain their hardened positions.
Turkey has clearly indicated that it would come aboard only when the NSG agrees to consider the applications of both India and Pakistan simultaneously.
China also maintains a similar position.
India's NSG membership application has been opposed on the ground that the country is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a key requirement for the membership of the nuclear club.
Pakistan, meanwhile, has thanked Turkey for supporting it on the issue and for taking a "principled" stand.
Sartaj Aziz, adviser to Pakistan's PM on foreign affairs, has already dialled foreign ministers of Turkey and Austria to discuss the issue.
"Adviser thanked Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for the principled position adopted by Turkey at the Vienna meeting that the membership applications of both India and Pakistan be considered together," a statement issued by the Pakistan government said.
Aziz, Pakistan's equivalent of foreign minister, had earlier also spoken to his counterparts in Argentina, Italy, New Zealand, Russia and South Korea to lobby for his country's application and highlight its "credentials for NSG membership".