With New Delhi’s application before the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Latvia, the NSG, after a two-day meeting on Thursday and Friday, said that it discussed “NSG relationship with India” and continues to consider all matters pertaining to implementation of the 2008 NSG waiver for India. In fact, two years after India first approached the NSG plenary in Seoul, the group “noted that discussions were continuing on the requests for participation that had been submitted”. The NSG also noted that discussions are continuing on the issue of “Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of Non-NPT States in the NSG”, initiated at the 2016 Seoul plenary. This was a reference to Indian application ahead of the Seoul plenary, when Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had travelled to South Korea to lobby for NSG membership.
Sources said that while there was no headway this time despite the thaw in relationship with China, the NSG statement in Latvia — after the meeting on June 14 and 15, as first reported by The Indian Express — on Saturday after the plenary said that it “continued to consider all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India”.
This is the only Indian reference in the statement, while there was no specific reference to Pakistan’s application to the NSG. “There is no equivalence in terms of the track record of India and Pakistan,” a western diplomat, privy to the discussions in NSG, told The Sunday Express on Saturday. The NSG plenary meeting took place on Thursday and Friday in Jurmala, Latvia, and as expected, the group discussed the recent US-North Korea summit on “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” and the US withdrawing from the JCPOA – the nuclear deal between P-5+1 and Iran.
Latvia, which assumed chairmanship of the NSG for 2018-19 on June 14, was represented by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkevics. Latvia is the first Baltic state to chair the NSG. On North Korea (DPRK), the NSG statement said that the participating governments “noted” the developments in that country since the 2017 NSG plenary in Bern, and reconfirmed their commitment to the UN Security Council resolutions 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017), 2397 (2017) and previous relevant UNSC resolutions, which reaffirm that North Korea will immediately abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
“Participating Governments noted with encouragement the recent Inter-Korean summits and the DPRK-US summit. Within the framework of the NSG’s mandate, the Participating Governments noted that the supply of all controlled items to the DPRK is prohibited according to the above-mentioned resolutions,” the statement said.
On Iran, the NSG said that participating governments took note of the continued implementation by the E3/EU+2 and Iran of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While New Delhi had reached out to Beijing on April 10 and tried to convince the interlocutors there to lift their objections at the NSG, there has been no public articulation by the Chinese leadership about a change in their position. Since then, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice in Wuhan (April) and Qingdao (June) and held discussions on a wide range of issues.