NSG Membership: PM leads India’s diplomatic push

File photo of Prime Minister Modi meeting US President Barack Obama.

File photo of Prime Minister Modi meeting US President Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to strongly push for India’s membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) during his visit to Switzerland, Mexico and the US – countries that are part of the elite group that looks after critical issues relating to the atomic sector.

India has been pushing for membership of the 48-nation bloc for last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12.

“This has been the objective we pursued for many many years. I think we have made lot of progress and that has led us to formally apply for the NSG membership some days ago. We are engaged with all NSG members,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said.

He said India was looking at a very major domestic expansion in nuclear power sector besides at a “very large” international collaboration with different countries and its entry into the NSG would help its objective of having clean energy.

Insisting India not signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty should not be linked to its bid for NSG membership, he said India fulfilled all its commitments relating to atomic sector.

“We have a very solid record with which much of the world is comfortable. The NSG has already made one exception for us.

In a sense, our credentials have been examined, a judgement was arrived at in 2008.

“In 2008, we gave some commitments, we gave commitments on separation of our nuclear programme, between civil and the strategic side. We agreed to accept and implement additional protocol… we faithfully followed up,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary said granting NSG membership to India is a “logical next step”.

During his talks with the leadership of Mexico, Switzerland and the US, Modi is likely to seek support for India’s membership bid at the NSG.

On India’s bid for NSG membership, Jaishankar said Indiahas been eyeing membership of the premier group for many, many years and that it has made “lot of progress” on that.

“I think we have made lot of progress and that has led us to formally apply for the NSG membership some days ago. We are engaged with all NSG members regarding this issue and Switzerland is definitely an important member and definitely, I would expect it to come up,” he said.

About his Qatar visit, Modi said he was looking forward to to meet Sheikh Tamim “whose landmark visit to India last year had ushered in a new momentum in our relations.”

The Prime Minister will arrive in Maxico from the US on June 8. He will have extensive talks with Mexican President Enrique Pe a Nieto on key bilateral issues including India’s membership bid at the NSG.

This will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 1986 when then PM Rajiv Gandhi had visited that country. Then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Mexico in 2012 to attend G 20 summit.

The Prime Minister will leave for India on the evening of June 8.

“I look forward to meeting President Pena Nieto on June 8 during my visit to Mexico, a privileged partner in the Latin American region.

“President Pena Nieto has ushered in far reaching reforms. I look forward to sharing our experiences. This is the first Prime Ministerial bilateral visit to Mexico after 30 years. Though short, the visit has a substantial agenda to take our partnership to new heights,” he said.

Switzerland is India’s fifth largest trading partner of India. The European country is also the 11th largest foreign investor in India.