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Mexico backs India, China leads resistance at NSG meeting

Mexico supports India joining non-proliferation body the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Wednesday, and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked him for his backing.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2016 19:18 IST
Modi's Mexico visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto after they gave a speech, at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City.(Reuters)

Mexico “positively” and “constructively” supports India’s efforts to join the nuclear suppliers group (NSG), its President Enrique Pena Nieto said Wednesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on a day-long visit.

The backing — the second in a week after Switzerland — came on a day the 48-member grouping held a closed-door meeting in Vienna to discuss India’s membership bid. Diplomats there said China was leading the opposition to a push by the US and other major powers for India’s entry to the elite club of nuclear trading countries that control access to sensitive nuclear technology.

“By bringing India on board, it’s a slap on the face of the entire non-proliferation regime,” said a diplomatic source from one of a handful of countries resisting India’s push. These include New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria.

Watch | PM Narendra Modi’s address to US Congress

China has opposed India’s bid, saying it is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). But, this is being read as an effort by Beijing to yoke India’s membership to that of its “all-weather friend” Pakistan, which, too, has sent in an application for membership to the NSG and, like India, is not part of the NPT regime. All member countries have to back India for it to get NSG membership.

“Mexico recognises India’s interest in joining the nuclear suppliers group. As a country, we have a positive and constructive backing for this,” said Nieto as Modi flew in from Washington.

Mexico, an NSG member nation, supports India’s bid because of Modi’s “commitment to the agenda of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation”, he said.

Thanking Mexico, the PM called it an important partner in the field of energy security. “We are looking to move beyond a buyer-seller relationship and into a long-term partnership... We have agreed to develop a roadmap of concrete outcomes to upgrade our ties to a strategic partnership,” he said.

Nieto announced his country’s support after holding wide-ranging talks with Modi on bilateral and global issues.

Earlier this week, Switzerland, which like Mexico had strong reservations on India’s entry to the NSG, announced its support when Modi travelled to the Alpine country.

India is already poised to join the missile technology control regime (MTCR) after talks this week between Modi and US President Barack Obama. Both groups — NSG and MTCR — will give India greater access to research and technology.

The US and many other NSG member countries have supported India’s inclusion based on its non-proliferation track record. A final decision is not expected before an NSG plenary in Seoul on June 20, but diplomats in Vienna said Washington was pressuring the hold-outs, and Thursday’s meeting was a chance to see how strong the opposition is.

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