NSG to consider India’s bid as Modi tells Xi to see merit

Tashkent/Seoul, June 23 (IANS) India’s application for NSG membership was being taken up at the 48-nation bloc’s special session in Seoul on Thursday night as Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to consider New Delhi’s bid on its merit.

Highly informed sources in Seoul told IANS that India’s membership was on the agenda of the post-dinner meeting of heads of delegation of NSG members. The NSG is holding its closed-door plenary in the South Korean capital.

India’s application was not on the main agenda of the plenary, but sources said that Japan raised the issue in the opening session. It was later decided that the matter would be discussed at the planned special session to be convened by Chairperson Rafael Grossi of Argentina.

Argentina and South Korea along with several key member nations, including the US, Britain, Italy, Mexico, Switzerland and Russia, have been supportive of India’s NSG aspirations.

China has been opposing India’s bid on the grounds that New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — one of the main requirements to be part of the elite club of nations that regulate global nuclear trade and technology. Supporting China’s view are Turkey, South Africa, Ireland, Austria and New Zealand.

China has supported Pakistan’s application that virtually stonewalled India’s chances of getting into the bloc without signing the NPT.

China insists that if any concession is given to India, the same should apply to Pakistan which has an alleged bad track record on non-proliferation after it was said to have sold atomic weapons technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

Prime Minister Modi, who met President Xi in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the Uzbekistan capital, urged China to judge India’s application for NSG membership on its “merit”.

“Prime Minister Modi urged China to make a fair and objective assessment of India’s application and judge it on its own merit,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup briefed reporters in Tashkent.

Probed further by reporters about India’s chances to secure membership in the bloc, he said: “This is a complex and delicate negotiation process. Whatever I had to say I have said all.”

India has been making hectic diplomatic efforts to secure membership in the grouping which works on the principle of consensus and allows a new member only if all existing members agree.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is in Seoul as part of India’s diplomatic outreach to push through the NSG.

–IANS

sar/rn

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