Indian Foreign Secretary flies to Seoul ahead of NSG meet

New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday flew to Seoul on a previously unannounced trip ahead of a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amid expectations that the club may consider India’s application for membership.

“While it is true that the Foreign Secretary has flown to Seoul, the NSG plenary hasn’t even begun yet,” a highly placed diplomatic source said here.

The source said India’s entry into the club “is a delicate and complex process” and nothing could be stated conclusively as of now. “At this point, let us not speculate,” the source said.

The Foreign Secretary’s sudden visit comes amid hectic Indian lobbying with NSG member nations for its entry into the club that regulates global nuclear commerce despite China’s opposition.

The 48-nation grouping works on the principle of consensus and allows a new member only if all existing members agree.

China insists that India, being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), cannot be allowed in unless there was a consensus in the grouping.

Beijing says that if any concession was given to India, the same should apply to Pakistan. Some other countries also have reservations about India’s membership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to leave for Tashkent for a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — a Eurasian political and economic bloc.

Modi is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and take up with him the issue of India’s NSG membership.



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