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India determined to clear NSG hurdle this year

Updated June 27, 2016

NEW DELHI: India said on Sunday it would continue to talk to China to further its mission to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

A foreign ministry spokesperson claimed that New Delhi met the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) criteria to see it through.

Indian media quoted unnamed sources as saying there was possibility of India’s inclusion in the NSG later this year, while New Delhi would continue to discuss the issue with China.

The reports quoted foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup as saying the current hurdle was not a diplomatic failure.

In fact, he said that procedural hurdles were part of such deals. He added that India applied for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) 10 years ago but achieved entry into both groups this week.

“There are some processes that take a long time. I would evaluate the NSG membership process in that category. Yes, we did not get the desired result from Seoul. Probably it is going to take slightly longer,” he said.

Talking about the countries, besides China, who had raised opposition to India joining the NSG, Mr Swarup said there was a bit of disinformation floating in the matter.

“As I mentioned earlier, there was only one country which persistently raised procedural hurdles, as a result of which no decision could be arrived at in Seoul and we stick to that stand. As far as other countries are concerned, there are some who raised procedure-related issues, but not a single country apart from that one country opposed India’s NSG membership,” he said.

With the NSG and China setting the NPT as a crucial criterion for gaining entry, the spokesperson claimed India had already implemented all the provisions meeting the criteria and that it had all the credentials to be part of the NSG.

No one can equate India with Pakistan on the NPT issue, he said, adding that India’s current NSG hurdle was not a diplomatic failure. However, he admitted that the results were not as expected.

“These are continuing processes. We will continue to work actively on this. Today Indian diplomacy does not fear failure. We will redouble our efforts and double the momentum to achieve the result.”

Indicating that India would continue to discuss the matter with China, Mr Swarup said that a relationship only moved forward if both sides were mindful of each other’s concerns and priorities.

Meanwhile, the NSG will meet again this year to discuss the process of inclusion of countries like India, who have not signed the NPT.

A special plenary session of the NSG can be called by the yearend.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2016