INDIA has for the first time named China as the country blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday stating that China had created “procedural hurdles” by particularly questioning how a non-NPT signatory could become a member.
“I am saying it today on the floor of the house that China introduced procedural hurdles, the main being on whether a non-NPT state can have NSG status… It is true that this was the reason for the non-decision on India’s application,” Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha. She was replying to a question raised by Sugata Bose of the TMC.
New Delhi had till now not named China and had maintained that a “single country” had blocked its bid to become a member of the NSG at its Seoul meeting.
The minister, however, said that it did not mean that the NSG doors were closed to India forever and added that the government is engaging with China to iron out differences. “If someone says ‘no’ once, it does not mean he won’t agree at all … like GST… almost all parties have agreed to it but the Congress. That does not mean it it will never agree (to the GST bill),” Swaraj said.
Earlier, Swaraj told NCP’s Supriya Sule, who sought details of India’s efforts to join the NSG, that Mexico had supported India’s bid and when the decision did not go in New Delhi’s favour, the country once again asked the group to decide on the issue. The minister also denied suggestions that the failure to enter the elite nuclear club was a ‘huge diplomatic snub’. She argued that Indian diplomacy has made its mark, as, she added, people earlier would ask if India could make it to the NSG. “Now the question has changed to ‘when will India become a member?’,” she said in the presence of the Prime Minister.
On the benefits of getting NSG membership, Swaraj said India will then become part of “rule making” as opposed to being a “rule taker”. “Waiver is like being allowed in the verandah; membership is like being in the room,” she said. She added that though India has not signed the NPT, it has been following the commitments it made when it was granted a waiver in 2008. Swaraj also credited the previous UPA government for getting the waiver and following the commitments. The minister said NSG membership would enable India to have enhanced and uninterrupted access to nuclear technology, fuel and material required for expanding its civil nuclear programme.
“It would create a predictable environment for large investments required for setting up nuclear power plants in India. It would also allow the country to meet its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) pledge of 40 per cent of its power capacity coming from non-fossil sources by 2030,” she said.