NSG Meeting On India’s Membership Ends Inconclusive

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Vienna:  A meeting in Vienna of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to decide on India’s application for membership to the 48-nation club ended on Friday without a breakthrough. The matter is now expected to be taken up in a meeting in Seoul on June 20.

The US-led push for India to join the club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology had made some headway on Thursday as several opponents appeared more willing to work towards a compromise, but China has consistently remained defiant.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms. It was set up in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the main global arms control pact.

After meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama pledged America’s backing for India to be given a seat in the NSG. But China on Thursday maintained its position that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is central to the NSG, diplomats said.

The handful of other nations resisting India’s admission to the group, including South Africa, New Zealand and Turkey, somewhat softened their stance, opening the door to a process under which non-NPT states such as India might join, diplomats said.

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