India said on Friday that an early decision on its application for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is in larger global interest after its bid was blocked as member countries failed to arrive at a consensus.
China led the opposition on the grounds that India’s application could not be considered as it has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India says the NPT that recognises only the US, Russia, the UK, France and China as nuclear weapon states is biased.
Backed by nearly 10 other countries, the argument effectively torpedoed India’s bid although it had the strong backing of the US, the UK, France and a majority of countries in the nuclear trading group.
A top Chinese official said in Seoul that the world non-proliferation regime would collapse if non-NPT countries such as India were allowed in the nuclear suppliers group. The stand clearly showed that Chinese President Xi Jinping had not responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgings in Tashkent on Thursday.
“India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure. It would advance energy security and make a difference to combating climate change. We are confident that the NSG will recognize these benefits as it deliberates further on this issue,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, said.
“Our application has acquired an immediacy in view of India’s INDC envisaging 40% non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030. An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement,” he said.
Swarup, without naming China, said that despite “procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country”, there was a three-hour long discussion on the issue of India’s participation in the NSG.
“An overwhelming number of those who took the floor supported India’s membership and appraised India’s application positively. We thank each and every one of them. It is also our understanding that the broad sentiment was to take this matter forward,” he said.
He said India’s take on the NPT is “well-known” and pointed to the stand NSG took in 2008 while addressing the issue.
“Paragraph 1 (a) of the September 2008 decision states that the decision on India contributes to the “widest possible implementation of the provisions and objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”. There is thus no contradiction between the NPT and India’s closer engagement with the NSG,” the spokesperson said.
Swarup also pointed out that most countries want an early decision on the matter and those that raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG were not “actually” against New Delhi’s bid.
“It is self-evident that process issues would not arise if these countries were actually opposed to our participation. This is corroborated by our own bilateral engagement with each of these countries.”
At the end of its two-day plenary in Seoul, the NSG said it discussed the issue of “technical, legal and political aspects of participation of non-NPT states”.
The 48-nation grouping said given the focus on the NPT, participating governments reiterated their firm support for “effective implementation of the treaty as a cornerstone of international non-proliferation regime”.
The bloc, however, said that it will continue to have discussions on the participation of countries that have not signed the NPT.