Seoul: The plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) began here on Thursday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held parleys with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent to make a last minute push for New Delhi’s entry into the 48-member elite group.Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is presently in Seoul to lobby for India’s entry into the elite group.
Sources told ANI the NSG members will be meeting for a special session in Seoul tonight and India’s membership bid is likely to come up for discussion. Sources also said that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President is crucial in Tashkent because the decision taken there will be informed to the Indian team in Seoul.
China, till now, has been playing the role of a dampener on the issue of clearing the way for India’s admission to the NSG by repeatedly stating that it is not on the agenda of the grouping, which began its plenary session in Seoul on Monday.
China has maintained that more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries can join the 48-nation NSG following the United States’ push to include India in the elite group. The countries, who oppose India’s membership, argue that its inclusion in the group would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation and also infuriate New Delhi’s rival Pakistan.
Islamabad, which enjoys the backing of its close ally China, has also responded to India’s membership bid and asked for its admission as well. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said that the government’s “active and successful foreign policy” has blocked India’s entry into the NSG, adding that New Delhi would not be able to join the group alone.
He also said that he had recently approached many countries, including Russia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand, to gain their support on Islamabad’s viewpoint that there should be a criteria-based approach while deciding about inclusion of any country into the NSG