US urging NSG members to back India’s bid

Washington, June 21 (IANS) Amid China’s reluctance to back India’s NSG bid, the US said it will continue to urge countries in the 48-member bloc to support India’s membership application at the plenary session in Seoul this week.

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby, answering a query regarding China’s stance on India’s membership, also said that the US reaffirms that India was ready for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Kirby said: “We continue to call on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application at the plenary session in Seoul.”

He said that during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington this month, US President Barack Obama welcomed India’s application to join the NSG and reaffirmed that India is ready for membership”.

“And nothing’s changed about our position,” he said.

Asked if the US has had any opportunity to take up the NSG issue with China, Kirby said: “This is something that we have – India’s application is something we have routinely talked to other NSG participating members. This is not a new topic of discussion that we’ve had privately with the members.”

China stated on Monday that the NSG was divided over admitting India and that New Delhi’s application for membership was not on the agenda of the June 23-24 plenary.

“The NSG is still divided about non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) countries entry into the NSG and under the current circumstances we hope that NSG will make thorough discussions to make a decision based on consultation,” China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“The inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NPT meetings. In Seoul this year, there is no such topic,” it said.

China has been opposed to India’s membership to the bloc that controls global nuclear trade on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the NPT. Beijing has also said if New Delhi is admitted, then so should Islamabad, its all-weather ally.

India, which finds the NPT discriminatory in nature, has been backed by the US, Switzerland, Mexico, Italy, Russia and Britain. Countries like New Zealand and South Africa oppose India’s entry.

Consensus among member countries is essential to allow a new entrant.

–IANS

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