With less than a fortnight left for the plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Seoul, India has conveyed to China that its quest for membership does not have a geopolitical dimension but is a mandatory technical requirement in New Delhi’s quest for clean nuclear energy.
China wants a discussion on the process for entry of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members into the NSG even though a majority of the 48-country strong regime favours India’s entry.
Speaking to HT after the special NSG plenary at Vienna on June 9-10, a senior official said on condition of anonymity: “A majority of NSG members in Vienna felt that time is ripe for India’s entry into the regime as it has completed all the required process including separation of military-civilian reactors and placing civil reactors under IAEA safeguards.”
“This was in sharp comparison to other two applicants,” the official said.
Other top sources said that India will diplomatically engage China at the highest levels in the run-up to the June 23-24 Seoul meet so that broad consensus is reached without any county being isolated on the issue. New Delhi has reminded Beijing that India has always supported China’s entry into multi-lateral regimes and has convergence on other issues like climate change.
Meanwhile, the Modi government expects to complete formalities for India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) later this month. “The process is on to complete formal procedures with an announcement expected from the body later this month,” said a senior official.
The government has also appointed an Empowered Credit Finance Negotiating Committee under Secretary (Economic Relations) Amar Sinha to negotiate with the US Exim Bank on terms for NPCIL-Westinghouse-Toshiba deal at Kowada in Andhra Pradesh for installation of six 1100 MW nuclear reactors. Sources say the entire project exercise is expected to be completed by June 2017 with Westinghouse expected to submit its revised techno-commercial bid soon. It is understood that installation at Kowada will be cheaper than the previously allotted Mithi-Virdhi site in Gujarat as no tunneling work is required at the Andhra Pradesh site.