In his hour-long talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Barack Obama backed India’s bid for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The US President also welcomed India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)
The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, particularly ways to take the bilateral economic ties to new heights. Obama said it was natural for India and the US to “deepen and broaden” partnership.
“I indicated support to India being a part of NSG,” the US President said.
The 50-point Joint Statement said, “President Obama welcomed India’s application to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and re-affirmed that India is ready for membership. The United States called on NSG Participating Governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary later this month.
Even as the US called for India’s entry into the NSG, China played spoilsport. Chinese officials called for a “consensus” and a “full discussion” on the issue of admitting India into the 48-member NSG.
“Members within the group still differ on the accession of countries which are not party states to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written response to a PTI query.
“China stands for continuous and full discussions within the group on this issue in order to forge consensus and make a decision based on agreement,” the Chinese Ministry added.
The issue of India’s membership into the NSG is expected to figure in the June 9 plenary meeting of the NSG in Vienna.
Meanwhile, at the Oval office in White House, PM Modi thanked President Obama for his support.
“I am thankful for the help and support that my friend President Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR and NSG.”
Obama also said that he looks forward to India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a key anti-proliferation grouping.
Reports said the plenary meeting of the 34-nation MTCR will take place later this year in Seoul during which India will be formally inducted as the new entrant into the bloc.
“Mission almost accomplished. Only some procedural formalities remain before India becomes member of #MTCR,” Roald Naess, Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland tweeted.
Membership of the MTCR will help India procure high-end missile technology and surveillance systems by leading manufacturers which are allowed to be accessed by only MTCR member countries.
While addressing the media after the talks, Obama said the progress made in the Civil Nuclear agreement with India was also discussed. Obama underlined that India needs technology which is critical for its progress and prosperity.
Some other issues that came up for discussion included terrorism, clean energy, climate change, regional security and cyber security.
(With inputs from PTI)