India to seek China's help to enter NSG
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India to seek China's help to enter NSG

Pranab said that the Centre would get in touch with Beijing if its deal with US is approved by the Congress.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 09:03 IST

India plans to seek China's backing as it bids to enter an elite club of nations allowed to trade in nuclear supplies, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

Pranab, who visited China this month, said that the government would get in touch with Beijing if its deal with Washington is approved by the US Congress.

"The first thing to look into is whether it is going to have the approval of the US Congress," Mukherjee told a news conference.

"China is aware of our need and requirement, of our concern, and surely as with many other countries belonging to Nuclear Suppliers Group, we will be taking it up as soon as the issue is resolved in the US Congress," he said.

India needs the approval of the 45-nation NSG to access atomic fuel and equipment as part of a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation deal agreed in principle with Washington in 2005.

China is a key member of the NSG, an informal group which regulates global nuclear trade and bars supplies to countries - like India - that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Mukherjee's comments came as officials of the two countries held a second day of talks in New Delhi to resolve differences over some sections of the agreement and finalise a draft.

The deal will allow US civil nuclear technology sales to India for the first time in three decades.

But Congressmen and non-proliferation experts have criticised the deal, saying that it gives away too much to India and encourages proliferation.

Some Indian analysts say that Beijing is unhappy with the deal, which would ultimately recognise India as the world's sixth most powerful nuclear state. They doubt its support at the NSG.

First Published: Jun 14, 2006 08:41 IST