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NSG membership push to be focus of annual talks with US

india Updated: Aug 26, 2016 01:14 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
NSG membership

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP File Photo)

India would make a strong push for greater US support in getting membership to the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) during the forthcoming strategic and commercial dialogue which would focus among others, business ties, defence cooperation and clean energy initiatives.

The annual strategic dialogue, which has included commerce since last year, will take place on August 30 in Delhi.

It is co-chaired by secretary of state John Kerry and secretary of commerce Penny Pritzker from the US side and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and minister of state for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

India is making a strong bid for the membership to the NSG, an elite club of 48 countries that deal with trade in nuclear technology and fissile materials.

After China blocked India’s bid on the grounds of not being a signatory to the nuclear non proliferation treaty (NPT), New Delhi is making fresh attempts to enter the club before the year ends.

Sources said India’s NSG bid is closely linked to its push for clean energy sources, an area where India-US cooperation is getting stronger. The US is also nudging India to ratify the ambitious 2015 Paris climate pact.

However, the poll-bound US raises questions over how strong its push for India’s NSG bid could be.

Former US president George Bush had called up his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to get Beijing’s support for India getting a waiver at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group guidelines, an imperative for the implementation of the India-US civil nuclear cooperation.

However, there was no such call from current President Barack Obama to his Chinese counterpart when India tried to enter the club.

The two sides will also explore means for greater US participation in the defence sector under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship scheme Make in India. They would review progress in the establishment of the Working Groups on Aircraft Carrier Technology and Jet Engine.