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NSG likely to meet again to discuss entry of non-NPT countries

The 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is likely to meet again before the end of the year specially to discuss the process for granting membership to non-NPT signatories.

New Delhi: NSG is likely to meet again before the end of the year to discuss membership of non-NPT signatories like India, which on Sunday made it clear to China, responsible for torpedoing its recent bid, that it was necessary to take care of India's "interests" for forward movement in bilateral ties.

The 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is likely to meet again before the end of the year specially to discuss the process for granting membership to non-NPT signatories, thus providing another chance to India to press its claims after it failed to seal its entry into NSG at the plenary which concluded in Seoul on Friday.

India faced strong opposition from China and a few other countries and the fact that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was used for foiling India's bid.

However, diplomatic sources today said that at the suggestion of Mexico, it has now been decided that another meeting of NSG should be held before the end of the year to consider the entry criteria for non-NPT countries. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year.

Even as it emerged that NSG is likely to meet in the next few months, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "We will keep impressing upon China that mutual accommodation of interests, concerns and priorities is necessary to move forward bilateral ties."

His comments assume significance in the backdrop of Chinese Foreign Ministry's assertion that Beijing's opposition at NSG, which is a multi-lateral platform, will not impact the India-China ties adversely.

Swarup also said that though India did not get "expected results" at the Seoul meeting, the country will continue to make determined efforts to get into NSG.

China had voiced its opposition to Mexico's suggestion for an early NSG meeting on non-NPT countries' membership but the proposition found support from a large number of countries including the US.

A panel for informal consultations on India's membership has also been set up by the NSG and it will be headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.

Grossi's appointment came even as a top US official said that the NSG session in Seoul had ended with a "path forward" for India's acceptance as a member.

"We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year. It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year," the Obama administration official told PTI in Washington.

China was unrelenting in thwarting India's NSG bid despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India's case on its merits.

An upset India later accused "one country", a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.