Hectic negotiations are on between the United States and the Indian officials on the issue of New Delhi’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The US is looking at ways to “more actively support” India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as the Trump administration considers it a very important matter, a top White House official said earlier.
The diplomatic talks are underway for India’s entry into the 48-member elite nuclear club as the next plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will meet in November and Washington will support India’s membership in the NSG, according to the local media. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington, US President Donald Trump reaffirmed the support of the United States for India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
“As global non-proliferation partners, the United States expressed strong support for India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group,” said a joint India-US statement after the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump.
India has been trying to enter into the NSG since 2008, but Beijing scuttled India’s bid during a meeting of the elite nuclear club in June 2016, citing that it was not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
India has renewed its efforts to become a member of the 48-nation group by engaging with all member countries including the pro-India push from other key players such as the US, the UK, France, and Russia. India is keen to become a member of the NSG and other export control regimes such as the Wassenaar Agreement and Australia Group as it seeks to significantly expand its nuclear power generation.
“The US is very supportive of India’s membership in the NSG. That continues to be something very important, and in fact it came up during the meeting of Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi with President (Donald) Trump (at the White House on June 26),” the White House official said.
China, a key member of the NSG, has been stridently opposing India’s bid primarily on the grounds that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Its opposition has made India’s entry into the 48-member group difficult as the NSG works on the principle of consensus.
“In terms of the specific interactions with China, I’m not aware if it’s been raised. It’s something certainly that the US does support,” the official said, insisting that the Trump administration is committed to support India’s case.
“There is a meeting coming up shortly on this issue. The US is considering ways it can to support more actively India’s membership in the NSG, as it is something that’s very important to the US,” the White House official said. Its opposition has made India’s entry into the 48-member group difficult as the NSG works on the principle of consensus.
A NSG statement after the June meeting said the members had discussions on the issue of “Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG”. “The group decided to continue its discussion and noted the intention of the chair to organised an informal meeting in November,” said the NSG statement issued at the end of the two-day plenary meeting in the Swiss capital Bern.