India likely to push for NSG membership at bloc's 2-day plenary in Latvia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

There will be a renewed push from the Indian side for its bid to become a member of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the two-day meeting of the bloc in Latvia which got underway on Thursday.

India had applied for the NSG membership in 2016, but it was blocked by China which insists that New Delhi is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India's cause is expected to get support from countries such as the US, Russia and France, which have been strong votaries of New Delhi's inclusion into the club.

This is also the first NSG plenary after India became a member of all the three export control regimes -- Missile Technical Control Regime (MTCR) in 2016, the Australia Group in 2017 and the Wassenaar Arrangement in 2018. Incidentally, China is not a member of any of these three groups.

Delhi has been reaching out to Beijing to relax their objections pertaining to India's membership.

On 10 April, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) in the Ministry of External Affairs Pankaj Sharma had met Beijing's top interlocutor Wang Xun, the head of the disarmament division in the Chinese government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met twice in Wuhan (in April) and Qingdao (in June) and have held discussions on a wide range of issues.

There has also been an intensive engagement involving top officials of both the governments.

However, Beijing's nod for India's membership is unlikely to come it wants the membership bid of India and Pakistan to be treated in the same manner.

Pakistan had applied for the NSG membership a few days after India submitted its application. Like India, Pakistan too has tested its nuclear arsenal and is not a signatory to the NPT. However, India has cited its strong non-proliferation record to buttress its case.


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