India confident of getting into NSG, cautiously hopeful of China’s backing

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj shakes hands with her Sri Lankan counterpart GL Peiris during a meeting in New Delhi on July 11, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

Ahead of the crucial NSG meeting in Seoul next week, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has struck a cautiously optimistic note on securing requisite global backing, including that of China’s, for New Delhi’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

An international consensus is building around India’s bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Mrs Swaraj said on June 19, barely days before discussion on India’s NSG bid at the NSG plenary on June 23 in Seoul.

The government is “hopeful of success in convincing China,” said Mrs Swaraj while responding to questions on Beijing’s objections to New Delhi’s entry into the NSG.

“I think a consensus is being made, and I don’t think any country will break that consensus, and this time we will get the NSG membership,” Mrs Swaraj said in New Delhi. The minister added that she had personally spoken to 23 of the 48 countries in the NSG.

The minister’s remarks acquire an added significance in the backdrop of Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s recent trip to Beijing. “All major issues, including India’s NSG membership, were discussed,” the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry said last week.

In this regard, the meeting between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the SCO summit in Tashkent on June 23/24 will be crucial as the Indian leader will make a determined effort to win Beijing’s backing.

China has underlined that it wants the NSG to agree on a process or “criteria” for members, with a view to accommodating  its all-weather ally Pakistan into this elite nuclear club.

“China is not opposing India’s NSG membership. China is speaking of the process for membership,” said Mrs Swaraj. The minister added that India does not oppose Pakistan or any other country’s membership, “but want each to be judged on their own merit.”

“Instead of speaking about a criteria, one should speak about our credentials. Our track record should be discussed. I have great satisfaction in saying that whatever commitments and undertakings we gave prior to receiving the (NSG) waiver in 2008, we have kept,” the minister stressed.



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