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NSG at forefront of PM Narendra Modi’s three-nation trip

“They are on board but it is good to establish contact with member countries through a high-level visit at the PM’s level,” a key government functionary said.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: June 20, 2017 4:14 am
Narendra Modi, Modi israel, jawaharlal nehru, Rajnath singh New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing at the inauguration of the Synthetic Track of the USHA School, via video conference, in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo / PIB (PTI6_15_2017_000222B)

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi is headed to the US, Portugal and the Netherlands later this week, New Delhi is looking at securing unequivocal commitment and support from these countries for India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). While the US expressed support for India’s membership under the Obama administration, New Delhi wants a declaration and reaffirmation of support from the new administration under President Donald Trump.

“The American administration has indicated that there is no change in their position on India’s application to become a member of the NSG. So, we would like to have a reaffirmation of the support by the administration during the visit,” a top government source told The Indian Express.

With the US government backing out of Paris climate accord, Delhi is keen to get reaffirmation of commitment on NSG. One of India’s key arguments for its NSG membership has been its commitment to abide by the Paris pact.
However, ahead of this year’s NSG plenary session in Bern, heavylifting by the American administration has not been witnessed, unlike last year when the plenary was in Seoul. The then Obama administration had actively engaged with foreign governments and sought support for India’s membership.

India too has maintained a low profile and has not talked up expectations, unlike last time when a diplomatic blitzkrieg was at play in Seoul with Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar present in the South Korean capital while the NSG was discussing India’s application.

Despite India’s entreaties, Beijing had remained unmoved, and insisted on a criteria-based approach for the non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) signatory countries. Its position has not changed this time as well, despite several meetings over the last one year.

Some other countries, including Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico and New Zealand, were among those which have stressed on the criteria-based approach, without opposing India’s application outright. So, if last year the government had included Switzerland and Mexico on the Prime Minister’s schedule when he had visited the US in June, this year, sources said, one of the key factors behind making Portugal and the Netherlands as “working visits” by the PM was that both are NSG members.

“They are on board but it is good to establish contact with member countries through a high-level visit at the PM’s level,” a key government functionary said. Portugal had in January expressed its support during Portuguese PM Antonio Costa’s visit to India. The Netherlands has also expressed its support for India’s entry into export-control regimes, including the NSG.

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  1. Aazar Kund
    Jun 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm
    PM Modi's earlier travel for NSG met with cold feet from global leaders. This time he will once again witness the same. Instead of pleading for NSG membership, India should sign NPT. It is the only way forward to get entry into elite group which was actually created in response to India's nuclear test.
    1. Babatunde Atami
      Jun 21, 2017 at 7:08 pm
      India’s entry into the NSG is banned, for now. In future, it will have to re-launch its campaign on new grounds. For sure, India will not sign the NPT, the reason for its disqualification, as this will bind it to disarm. One way to move forward is that India takes Pakistan along, but this seems least possible. Notwithstanding this, Indian failure to enter the NSG and the latter’s priority for uniform criteria to settle the issue of non-NPT states’ membership provide a golden opportunity to Pakistan to project its nuclear credentials and improve its image as a responsible nuclear state.
      1. E
        Jun 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm
        The real essence and the real objectives of the NSG will fall into trash once India would be granted a membership in to the group. The very group was formulated in order to mitigate the chances of future proliferation and as a wake up call to the India's proliferation activities at that time. India being the violator of the non proliferation norms, and also the state rushing for nuclear power in order to fulfill its ever increasing hunger for nuclear power and to become a regional hegemon will make the group less effective and questionable for the very members.
        1. S
          Jun 20, 2017 at 2:02 pm
          Bypass Beijing or make another version of NSG without Beijing in it. What a hypocrite China is.
          1. S
            Jun 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm
            america as its own brain to think need no second party
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