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At 2+2 talks, India seeks US help in new bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group

India has sought increased US involvement in facilitating its entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the inaugural two-plus-two dialogue between the defence and foreign ministries of the two countries.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2018 07:22 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India,US,indo-US defense ties
Unlike other existing NSG members, India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.(AFP)

India has sought increased US involvement in facilitating its entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the inaugural two-plus-two dialogue between the defence and foreign ministries of the two countries in New Delhi on Thursday.

India is making a renewed push for membership of the NSG, an elite club of 48 countries that deals with trade in nuclear materials and technology.

The NSG works on the principle of consensus for admitting new members. Unlike other existing NSG members, India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). New Delhi has maintained that it has impeccable non-proliferation credentials that have enabled India to win a waiver from the grouping to operationalise the India-US nuclear deal and enter nuclear commerce. A recent decision by the United States to put India in the list of countries eligible for Strategic Trade Authorization Tier-I License Exemption,which eases the export of high-tech items to it, is seen as another validation of India’s robust and responsible export control policies.

“In our meeting we also agreed to work together to secure India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at the earliest,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said. Barring the NSG, India is a member of all three export control regimes, namely the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is keen that India becomes a member of all the four grouping before the end of its term next year.

“The United States welcomed India’s accession to the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime and reiterated its full support for India’s immediate accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” a joint statement issued after the two-plus-two dialogue said. In August, during his interaction with Russian interlocutors, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale sought Moscow’s help in getting the support of other countries to back India’s entry into the NSG. India had also taken up the matter with China this year.

Experts believe that the improvement in India-China ties could change Beijing’s stance against India’s NSG membership. If China comes on board, New Delhi doesn’t see any other country becoming a likely hold-out. “India has impeccable non-proliferation credentials and is a member of the three of the four export control regimes. There has been a visible change in their bilateral ties after Modi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping in Wuhan ... So if China withdraws its objection, India could be a member of NSG,” said ex-foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh.

First Published: Sep 08, 2018 06:56 IST