India joins Australia Group, move could boost NSG membership bid | india news | Hindustan Times
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India joins Australia Group, move could boost NSG membership bid

The NSG is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade in fissile materials and technologies, consistently blocked by China.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2018 19:03 IST
Jayanth Jacob
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the AG membership will help establish India’s credentials further.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the AG membership will help establish India’s credentials further.(AP File Photo)

India on Friday became the 43rd member of the Australia Group (AG), a key export control regime, which could bolster the country’s effort to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

The NSG is an elite club of countries that deals with the trade in fissile materials and technologies, consistently blocked by China.

The AG is a group of nations working to counter the spread of equipment, materials, and technologies that could contribute to the development or acquisition of chemical and biological weapons by states or terrorist groups.

India’s entry into the third export control regime, after the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), will also strengthen supply chain security in fields of biotechnology and chemical industries.

“There was very strong support expressed for India’s membership at the June 26-30, 2017, Australia Group Plenary, after which consensus was reached intersessionally. India then reaffirmed its intention to join the group,” said the group on Friday.

The number of countries participating in the AG has increased from 15 in 1985 to 41, plus the European Union. However, China is not a member. Since the NSG works on the principle of consensus, even a single country can spoil India’s chances of getting entry into the club.

The member countries of AG recognised India’s commitment of bringing its export control system into alignment with the group and India’s determination “to contribute to the global effort to prevent the proliferation of CBW (chemical and biological weapons) in the security interests of all members of the international community”.

These would help India reinforce before the world the larger acceptance for its non-proliferation credentials even though it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and maintains that the pact is discriminatory.

“India’s entry would be mutually beneficial and further contribute to international security and non-proliferation objectives,” said the external affairs ministry in a statement.