India’s NSG membership ‘appears positive’

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New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) India’s chances of entering the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) “appears positive” with most countries of the 48-member group supporting New Delhi’s bid at a meeting in Vienna, it was learnt, even as China was reported to have opposed India’s membership along with five other countries.

The development comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned from a five-nation tour on Thursday during which he secured support for India’s NSG membership from Switzerland and Mexico, while the US also strongly backed New Delhi’s bid to become member of the cartel.

On Wednesday, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto voiced support for India’s membership during Modi’s brief visit to Mexico City.

Mexico was among those countries, including China, that held the stand that a country seeking NSG membership should be a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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Other countries reportedly opposing Indian membership include New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria.

The NSG is holding an extraordinary plenary in Geneva on June 9-10 during which India’s membership is being taken up for consideration. The group is to hold another meeting in Seoul on June 24.

India submitted its application in early May to become a member of the NSG.

The NSG meeting comes as India is poised to become member of another crucial multi-lateral export control regime – the 34-member Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Pakistan has also applied to become a member of the club, and is being backed by China. Beijing is keen to see that Islamabad gets on board.

Pakistan has been lobbying hard with members of the NSG to scuttle India’s membership to NSG.

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