Indian Foreign Secretary flies to Seoul ahead of NSG meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to leave for Tashkent for a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) -- a Eurasian political and economic bloc.  

New Delhi: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday flew to Seoul on a previously unannounced trip ahead of a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amid expectations that the club may consider India`s application for membership.

"While it is true that the Foreign Secretary has flown to Seoul, the NSG plenary hasn`t even begun yet," a highly placed diplomatic source said here.

The source said India`s entry into the club "is a delicate and complex process" and nothing could be stated conclusively as of now. "At this point, let us not speculate," the source said.

The Foreign Secretary`s sudden visit comes amid hectic Indian lobbying with NSG member nations for its entry into the club that regulates global nuclear commerce despite China`s opposition.

The 48-nation grouping works on the principle of consensus and allows a new member only if all existing members agree.

China insists that India, being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), cannot be allowed in unless there was a consensus in the grouping.

Beijing says that if any concession was given to India, the same should apply to Pakistan. Some other countries also have reservations about India`s membership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to leave for Tashkent for a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) -- a Eurasian political and economic bloc.

Modi is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and take up with him the issue of India`s NSG membership.