Foreign secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday headed for Seoul ahead of the crucial NSG Plenary from tomorrow, where India is hoping to clinch membership which is strongly opposed by China and some other countries.
Jaishankhar, who was closely monitoring the goings-on during the officials’ level meet of the 48-nation grouping which started on Monday, left for the South Korean capital to lobby with members to boost India’s prospects of getting membership.
Senior external affairs ministry official Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of ‘Disarmament & International Security’ division, is already in Seoul to “garner” support as well as “explain” India’s case, sources said.
However, China continues to stonewall India’s bid for NSG membership with the members divided over the entry of a non-NPT signatory country like India.
The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.
While majority of the elite group members backed India’s membership, it is understood that apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.
China maintains opposition to India’s entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for its close ally Pakistan’s entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.
India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.
India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology.
The access to the NSG, which regulates the global trade of nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for energy-starved India, which has an ambitious energy generation programme. India is looking at 63,000 MW energy requirement through nuclear programme by 2030.
The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.