Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent on Thursday to take up India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. PM’s meeting with Chinese President coincides with the two-day annual plenary session of the NSG in Seoul. The meeting comes at time when China continues to stonewall India’s bid for NSG membership with the members divided over the entry of a non-NPT signatory country like India.
PM Narendra Modi reached Tashkent on Thursday to attend the two day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit with India set to become a member of the grouping. The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The decision on India’s admission to the six-member bloc was taken last year at Ufa, Russia.
“The process of India’s accession to the SCO will start with a signature on the based document which is called the Memorandum of Obligations,” said Sujata Mehta, Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar reached Seoul on Wednesday to lobby with members to boost India’s prospects of getting membership.
India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.
While majority of the elite group members backed India’s membership, it is understood that apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.
China maintains opposition to India’s entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for its close ally Pakistan’s entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.
India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France. India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology.
The access to the NSG, which regulates the global trade of nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for energy-starved India, which has an ambitious energy generation programme. India is looking at 63,000 MW energy requirement through nuclear programme by 2030.
The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.