Economy

India ‘hopeful’ of China’s support in NSG

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

Foreign Secretary was in Beijing last week to garner support   

 

Notwithstanding a vociferous opposition from Beijing, the government is “hopeful” of China’s support for its membership bid at the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).   

“China is not trying to block India’s NSG bid, it has questions on processes and procedures … We are hopeful that we will be able to convince China. And as far as the remaining countries are concerned, they only have a few questions which we are addressing. So I think a consensus is building up,” External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj told reporters during an annual media conference here.

On China backing Pakistan’s case at the NSG, Swaraj said the 48-nation exclusive nuclear commerce club should consider India’s application based on the criterion for which it got a waiver in 2008.

India’s application will be decided during a Plenary Meeting of the NSG at Seoul on June 24. During the preliminary meeting that took place on June 9 in Vienna, China did not support India’s bid.

In order to convince the Chinese, the government had dispatched Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Beijing last week on June 16-17 to discuss the matter.   

Meanwhile, official sources told BusinessLine that India is also “aggressively reaching out” to several other countries that are also opposed to India’s membership, such as Turkey, Ireland and New Zealand.  

According to sources, officials in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in-charge of these countries have been advised to “pursue” the respective governments.

“We only want applications to be decided on the basis of certain criterion, which was decided before the 2008 waiver. We got the waiver because of those criteria. So today they should talk about our credentials and not criteria,” Swaraj said.

The US had also been instrumental in it obtaining a waiver from the NSG since India has neither signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). 

According to Swaraj, it is “imperative” for India to obtain NSG’s membership despite having the waiver. This is because, she said, by being a member India will be able to play a role in its decision-making process.

“There is a lot of difference in sitting outside of a room and sitting inside of a room. That is the difference of being a member and non-member at the NSG. We are sitting outside despite the 2008 waiver, but when you are sitting inside you play a role in the decision-making process,” she highlighted.

She also said, from the point of view of climate change it is of critical importance that India gets the membership. The reason being India has committed that 40 per cent of its total energy output will be achieved through non-fossil fuel for which nuclear energy is required.

Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also pleaded Russian President Vladimir Putin to convince China for its support.

Modi is also expected to discuss the matter directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO Summit that will take place in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23.

 

Published on June 19, 2016

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