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India's NSG bid likely to be discussed at a special meeting in Seoul

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 June 2016, 16:55 IST

India's application for a membership into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was discussed at the plenary session of the NSG in Seoul, South Korea on 23 June.

India's application for a membership into the NSG will again come up for hearing at a special session of the 48-member grouping in Seoul late on 23 June, according to sources. NSG controls the global trade in nuclear fuel and technology.

India wants to become a member of the NSG to get better access to low-cost, clean nuclear energy. Several countries including the US, UK and France have publicly backed India's bid but China remains the biggest obstacle.

China has expressed strong objection against an exception being granted to India in joining NSG. Beijing has argued that application of countries that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) should be treated as a whole.

PM Narendra Modi is expected to seek China's support for membership when he will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent later today.

Induction to NSG group is done through unanimity voting and even one "no" vote can end India's hope to get included in the group that aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear arms by restricting the sale of items that can be used in making them.

It was not immediately clear that whether the discussion on India's membership, which is strongly opposed by China, and few other countries will come up informally or in a more formal way.

Indian diplomats, led by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, are here to lobby, although they are not the participants at the plenary in the absence of India's membership.

The Indian team includes Amandeep Gill, head of 'Disarmament and International Security' division in the External Affairs Ministry.

About 300 participants from 48 member countries are attending the plenary which was preceded by official-level session that began on June 20, according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

While the US and France have issued statements ahead of the plenary strongly supporting India's case and asking members to back New Delhi, China has been unrelenting in its opposition harping on the need to have a criteria for non-NPT countries like India and clubbing India's case with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.

Roughly 20 countries are backing India's case fully but given that the decisions in NSG are taken by consensus, India faces an uphill task.

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.

--PTI

First published: 23 June 2016, 16:55 IST
 
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