The United States continues to call upon member nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to back India’s membership application at a plenary in Seoul this week, a White House spokesperson said on Monday.
The stand indicated India’s application still might be on the agenda for the meeting on June 23-24, contrary to Chinese assertion in Beijing that it wasn’t.
China has blocked India’s membership of the NSG, a club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The 48-member group, set up in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974, aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“We continue to call on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application at the plenary session later this week,” White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said.
At the same time, Earnest said the member nations have to reach a consensus decision to admit any applicant and the US will be “advocating for India’s membership”.
The NSG works on the principle of consensus and a single hold-out country can spoil India’s chance to be part of the grouping. India has got the backing of most countries, including the US, Britain, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland and Russia.
Asked if the US had talks with the Chinese about India’s membership, state department spokesperson John Kirby said the US discussed the application with other NGS members.
In response to the pushback from China, Kirby said: “The United States calls on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG plenary.”
New Delhi has been making all efforts before the Seoul session. The NSG controls access to nuclear technology, which India needs, for one, to meet its increasing power requirements.
But Beijing announced on Monday that India’s membership was not on the agenda in the upcoming meeting, a day after Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said China was not opposed to her country’s bid but was highlighting procedural issues.