India’s membership of multilateral nuclear export regimes has become a high-stakes game, with China mobilizing opposition and the US throwing its full weight behind New Delhi’s aspiration in the run-up to the NSG plenary next month.
The NSG will hold its plenary in New York in June where India’s admission into the exclusive club is expected to be considered. Elaborating on the US’s position, US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said: “Well, first of all, I’m going to refer you to the governments of China and Pakistan with respect to their positions on India’s membership. Deliberations… about the prospects of new members joining the Nuclear Suppliers Groups are an internal matter among current members.”
“And then I’d point you back to what the President said during his visit to India in 2015, where he reaffirmed that the U.S. view was that India, ‘meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership,” he added.
China has defended its decision to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group on the ground that New Delhi had not signed the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a prerequisite for NSG’s membership.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to press President Barack Obama to use his clout to expedite India’s membership of NSG and other multilateral export regimes their meeting in Washington June 7-8, informed sources said.
Many analysts have said that China is acting at the behest of Pakistan, its all-weather partner, to block India’s bid to join the 48-nation bloc which controls the global flow of nuclear materials. India’s entry into the NSG will make it easier to access nuclear technology and know-how. “It’s obvious that China’s position is aimed at keeping India out of the NSG if Pakistan cannot be a member of the same organisation,” India’s former Foreign Secretary and Chairman of the Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries Shyam Saran said.
The Obama administration had declared support for India’s “full membership” to NSG in 2010. However, there hasn’t been much progress since then. “Deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group are an internal matter among current members,” Mr Kirby said.
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