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‘Under pressure from India’, US issues ‘proactive’ NSG statement

india Updated: Sep 01, 2016 00:50 IST
Jayanth Jacob

US secretary of state John Kerry speaks during an interactive programme at IIT Delhi on Wednesday.(PTI)

India’s pressure on the US to do more for its membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has resulted in a proactive wording in the joint statement issued by the two nations.

But a key question remains: How much political capital is the US willing to expend on India’s demand? The NSG is a group of 48 nations that deal with trade in nuclear technology and fissile materials. “…the sides (India and US) committed to redouble their efforts towards India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The United States urged participating governments to support India’s candidacy in their common interest,” said the joint statement .

“The US side affirms its support for India’s membership” has remained the familiar template in the joint statement so far. Unlike the joint statement issued after the last dialogue, South China finds a mention this time. But China’s name was not taken. “…. the sides stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce throughout the region, including in the South China Sea”, the joint statement said.

There was no mention about urging China to honour the award of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which went against Beijing. But US secretary of state Joh Kerry was more forthcoming on the issue during his interaction with students at IIT-Delhi.

He said India’s decision to accept an international tribunal’s judgment over its maritime border with Bangladesh stood apart from other choices made by other countries.

“It is a model (on) how a potentially dangerous dispute can be resolved peacefully, including the South China Sea — where the US continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry added.