India enters Australia Group; eyes set on NSG next
After gaining entry to two non-proliferation groups, MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and the Wassenaar Arrangement, India has become the 43rd member of another, the Australia Group (AG). With this membership India is expected to further push its demand for an entry into the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) that has been stalled due to Chinese protests.
“India’s entry into the Group would be mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.
The support for India’s membership of the Australia Group was strongly expressed at the Australia Group Plenary last year in June given India’s positive track record in non-proliferation and its reputation of being a responsible nuclear power. A cooperative and voluntary organization, the Australia group comprises 43 member countries working together to check the distribution of materials, equipment and technologies that would facilitate the development of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) by states or terror groups.
The Australia Group in its statement said “In warmly welcoming India to the Group, the other Australia Group members recognised the Government of India’s commitment to bring India’s export control system into alignment with the Australia Group and India’s determination to contribute to the global effort to prevent the proliferation of CBW in the security interests of all members of the international community”.
While India abstains from signing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty given its biased nature, China has taken up this point as a reason of denying India entry to the NSG. However, being a part of the other three non-proliferation group will allow India to engage and work with countries that are also members of NSG and may brighten its prospects of a future membership.
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