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As China talks tough, US continues to seek support for India’s NSG bid

The US call indicates India’s application is on the agenda for the Seoul meeting, contrary to Chinese assertion in Beijing that it wasn’t, sparking concern in India and other NSG nations supporting it.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2016 10:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Nuclear Suppliers Group,NSG,India's NSG membership bid
White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during a daily briefing at the White House in Washington.(AP)

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.

Read: Why NSG membership matters to India: All you need to know

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.

First Published: Jun 21, 2016 07:48 IST