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‘Natural to have differences’: China hopes for better ties with India in 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China hopes for better ties with India in 2017 by resolving differences over India’s admission into elite Nuclear Suppliers Group and listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN as the two nations signed off their most engaging year bogged down by the twin issues.”This year has seen a steady development of China-India relations, with the two countries marching towards the goal of building a more closely-knit partnership for development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said summing up Beijing’s perception of the outgoing year and its vision of Sino-Indian ties for the next year.”The leadership of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts” despite the differences, she said, referring to a number of meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at multilateral foras like G-20 and BRICS summit.
ALSO READ Won’t prejudge Chinese action on UN resolution on Masood Azhar: IndiaShe said that the dialogues and consultations have been going on in an orderly fashion at all levels and practical cooperation in various fields has been carried out steadily.”As close neighbours, it is natural for our two big countries to have differences, and we have been exploring ways to resolve them through diplomatic channels. The main theme of China-India relations remains friendship and cooperation,” she said, holding out hope for a more fruitful year for bilateral ties next year with the resolution of the two major issues.
ALSO READ UK reaffirms support to India’s bid for UNSC, NSG membership”For the year 2017, China would like to work with India for better implementation of the important consensus reached between the leadership, greater political mutual trust, wider mutually beneficial cooperation and properly management of differences so as to ensure a sustained and steady development of China-India relations,” she said.The strength of the deep diplomatic engagement between the two sides virtually begins with the New Year as China’s second “technical hold” on India’s application for listing Azhar as terrorist under UN’s 1267 Committee will expire on December 31, opening a new window for both the countries to address the issue which cast a shadow on Beijing s claim to fight terrorism in all forms as the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad is already listed by the UN as terror group.With the end of the second technical hold by China, India is expected to submit a fresh application backed by a charge sheet filed recently by the National Investigation Agency against Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terror attack.The charge sheet was expected to further reinforce India’s case for a UN ban against Azhar. Other members of the Committee including UNSC permanent members, US, Russia, France and UK had backed it earlier.Indian officials hope that the charge sheet provides strong basis for the case for China to take a relook as Beijing in the past argued that sufficient evidence has not been provided.”Listing in the 1267 Committee must be in line with the relevant resolutions of the UNSC and the rules of procedure of the Committee,” Hua had said, replying to question on Azhar’s issue days after NIA filed charge sheet.On India s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group too Indian and Chinese officials hope for a way out next year as China, after blocking India’s bid, began an exercise to work out a “non-discriminatory formula” to admit new members.It is unclear yet whether a formula can be worked out where the other members of the NSG will agree for admission of China’s close ally Pakistan, whose record in nuclear proliferation during the time of its disgraced nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan will be a stumbling block.China is advocating a two step approach for admission of countries who have not signed nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the NSG. As per the new stand announced by Beijing last month, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT members followed by discussions to admit specific non-NPT member.Indian officials say it will make it another engaging year in Sino-Indian diplomacy on both Azhar and NSG fronts and hope that it would not be a futile exercise as happened this year.However, even after the resolution of the two issues, the larger issues like the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remain. Modi himself raised this issue with Xi during their meeting at the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September.Significantly, as the year draws to a close, Lt Gen Amir Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, asked India to “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the USD 46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.Chinese officials say Riaz’s comments are significant as they point to the backing of the Pakistan army.Hua said China is open for such a proposal and wondered “what is India s take on this whether this is a good sign from Pakistan”.While relations appears to have been bogged down over the NSG, Azhar and CEPC which involves Pakistan, officials on both sides say that 2016 was an year of deep engagement between both the countries covering almost all aspects of the relations including the military.

New draft proposal may pave way for India’s NSG membership, no such luck for Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A new draft proposal circulated among Nuclear Suppliers Group member states early this month could pave the way for India to become a member of the elite club, but this is unlikely to happen before the end of the Obama presidency next month.The American push for India to become a full-fledged member of the NSG would now have to be pursued by the incoming Trump Administration as the outgoing Obama Administration is unlikely to fulfill its promise made to the Modi Government before its term expires January 20, informed sources said. A draft formula for NSG membership to countries like India and Pakistan that are not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was submitted by Rafael Mariano Grossi, the former NSG Chair, who prepared the report on behalf of South Korea, the current NSG chair.According to Arms Control Association (ACA), a Washington-based think-tank who has been a fierce opponent of India-US civil nuclear deal and India’s membership to NSG, the two-page draft formula proposes “nine general commitments” that non-NPT countries like India and Pakistan “would need to make” in order to receive the “fullest” atomic trading privileges. Slamming the draft proposal for “lowering the bar”, Daryl G Kimball of ACA observed that this could pave the way for India becoming a NSG member as it already fulfills all these nine criteria outlined in the draft proposal, which was informally discussed by NSG members in Vienna this month.Informed sources in the US Government told PTI that the current “time-line” does not ensure India’s membership under the Obama Administration, for which it had tried hard, but for the Chinese “resistance” in this regard.As such, India’s NSG membership, an unfinished agenda of the India-US relationship of the outgoing US President would now have to be taken up by his successor Donald Trump. While the civil nuclear deal was an initiative of a Republican Administration, George W Bush, the incoming Trump Administration has not made any public comment in this regard.The issue is, however, believed to have come up for discussion during the initial phase of contacts that top Indian officials have established with the presidential transition team. Revealing details of the nine-point formula for non-NPT States to become a NSG members, ACA says that interested countries should have implemented and have brought into force a clear and strict separation of current and future civilian nuclear facilities from non-civilian nuclear facilities in non-NPT applicant and have provided and maintain a declaration to the IAEA that identifies all current and future civilian nuclear facilities in non-NPT applicant.It seems applicant countries to have in force a safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all declared civilian facilities in non-NPT applicant, and all future civilian facilities which the IAEA and non-NPT applicant determine are eligible for safeguards and have in force with the IAEA an Additional Protocol covering the identified civilian nuclear facilities, which together with a safeguards agreement, allows the IAEA to detect the diversion of safeguarded nuclear material and to ensure that safeguarded nuclear material is used exclusively for peaceful purposes.The draft-guideline seems a commitment from applicant countries not to use any item transferred either directly or indirectly from a NSG Participating Government or any item derived from transferred items in unsafeguarded facilities or activities, a commitment not to conduct any nuclear explosive test and a clear description of non-NPT applicant intentions plans, and policies in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty upon becoming a Participating Government.It also seems a commitment to support and strengthen the multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament regime by working towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons and enhancing the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and an understanding that due to the unique nature of the non-NPT Party applications, non-NPT applicant would join a consensus of all other Participating Governments on the merits of any non-NPT Party application.””The formula outlined in Grossi’s draft note sets an extremely low bar on NSG membership and its wording is vague and open to wide interpretation,” said Kimball, who is considered as a non-proliferation czar. “This formula would not require India to take any additional nonproliferation commitments beyond the steps to which it committed in September 2008…,” he wrote. “For example, the proposed criteria for membership would simply require that India or Pakistan describe their plan for separating civilian and military nuclear facilities, which is a step that does not necessarily guarantee civil nuclear technology transfers will not benefit the military sector, and it is a step India has already taken,” he alleged.According to Kimball, the draft proposals takes into consideration a hypothetical Indian opposition to Pakistan’s NSG membership, which is also pending before it. The draft note proposes that one non-NPT member state “should reach an understanding not to block consensus” on membership for another non-NPT member state. “However, Pakistan still has grounds to object to the formula outlined by Grossi because it would require Pakistan to meet the same criteria for membership but, to engage in civil nuclear trade with NSG states, would have to win a separate NSG exemption from the full-scope safeguards requirement,” Kimball said.While the draft formula is not country-specific, as it lays down the membership criteria for non-NPT States, Kimball notes “India could theoretically claim that it has already undertaken all of the steps necessary for membership, which could then lead to a decision on membership for India, while still leaving Pakistan in a different status.”

New NSG draft bill may ease India’s entry into elite group

Washington: A draft proposal for accepting new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group paves the way for India’s entry but leaves Pakistan out, says a US-based arms control organisation.

The Arms Control Association (ACA), Washington, also warns that relaxing membership rules will undermine non-proliferation.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Last week, the US media reported that Rafael Mariano Grossi, a former chairman of the NSG, had prepared a two-page document, explaining how a non-NPT state, like India and Pakistan, could join the group. Grossi was acting on behalf of the current chairman, Song Young-wan of South Korea, and his document enjoys a semi-official status, Dawn reported.

To prevent India from blocking Pakistan from joining the NPT, Grossi’s draft note proposes that “one non-NPT member state should reach an understanding not to block consensus on membership for another non-NPT member state”.

But ACA’s Executive Director Daryl Kimball warns that “Pakistan still has grounds to object to the formula outlined by Grossi”.

He explains that the document will require Pakistan to meet the same criteria for membership as India “but, to engage in civil nuclear trade with NSG states, it would have to win a separate NSG exemption from the full-scope safeguards requirement”.

India is seeking membership of the NSG on the strength of the fact that it is already doing business with NSG members.

The 48-nation NSG is a nuclear technology control organisation formed in 1975 in response to India’s first nuclear weapons test, which used plutonium produced with nuclear technology from Canada and the US. The NSG seeks to prevent similar future misuses.

Current NSG membership rules require a state to sign the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) before joining this exclusive club. India remains one of only three countries, with Israel and Pakistan, never to have signed the NPT.

Earlier this year, India formally applied for membership and was followed by Pakistan. The US, and a host of other powerful western nations, back India’s application, but China and half a dozen other nations are blocking India’s membership, which requires a consensus of all members.

India hoped to join the group during NSG’s last plenary session, held in Seoul in June this year, but the meeting ended without taking any decision on New Delhi’s application.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 19:08 IST

Pakistan wary of NSG ‘exemption’ for India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan is wary of powerful countries pressurising smaller nations to exempt India in the admission process to the NSG and feels that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistan’s application was not treated equally with that of India.Pakistani official suspect that powerful countries could force the smaller partners to support India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid despite a growing realisation for a criteria-based approach for joining the 48-member elite grouping. “We are pretty confident that NSG countries would not go down the exemption way, but if they ultimately do so and give exemption to India,” Director General of Disarmament at the Foreign Office Kamran Akhtar said while speaking at a workshop on ‘Defence, Deterrence and Stability’ in South Asia. “…There would be serious repercussions not just for Pakistan, but also for other non-nuclear weapon states that may feel being unjustly denied their right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” he said.At the same time, Pakistani officials feel encouraged by growing support in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for establishing criteria for membership of non-NPT countries, Dawn reported. “There are a lot of countries that now recognise the need for a criteria-based approach rather than granting exemptions, but pressures are still being exerted on smaller countries,” he said.The workshop was jointly organised by Islamabad-based think-tank Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and London?s International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).Last month in Vienna NSG members, for the second time in a year, failed to reach consensus on the admission of non-NPT countries. The NSG members have been divided between countries demanding strict adherence to the NPT criteria and the bloc wanting to embrace India immediately.A growing support within NSG has been noted for developing criteria for non-NPT states and the Chinese proposal for a two-step approach for new admissions which involves developing criteria in the first stage and then inviting applications for the membership. He said it was now up to NSG countries to decide if they wanted the group to be seen as being driven by political and commercial interests or else they would want non-proliferation goals to be strengthened.The official warned that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistani application was not treated equally with that of India.Pakistan has been pushing for its membership in the group by adopting a uniform criteria for any new country to join NSG despite US backing for India to join through a selective wavier of conditions.Foreign Office’s Additional Secretary Tasneem Aslam said the issue of membership of non-NPT countries was deeply linked to strategic stability in South Asia. “Today, the NSG stands at crossroads, once again, as it considers membership for non-NPT states. An even-handed and non-discriminatory approach by the NSG at this juncture would be of far-reaching significance for strategic stability in South Asia and global non-proliferation efforts,” she said.

India’s NSG bid: China must give in to its peers in elite group or risk isolation

On 11 November, the Nuclear Suppliers Group met in Vienna to discuss the membership of the Non-Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries. As the meeting took place under the shadow of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan where the historic India-Japan civil nuclear energy deal was signed, the Indian media did not report or give even reasonable coverage to the meeting. Interestingly, the run-up to the 11 November 2016 meeting of the NSG had some media coverage. The June 2016 plenary meeting of the NSG had got massive coverage.

The NSG logo. Image courtesy NSG websiteThe NSG logo. Image courtesy NSG website

The NSG logo. Image courtesy NSG website

Besides, a section of the media discussed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s personal statement on nuclear doctrine. The NSG secretariat and the website also did not tell much about the meeting. So, as usual, very limited information on the NSG meeting is available. The release of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, however, gave some idea of the action in the meeting.

Earlier in a conference of the European Union Consortium on Nonproliferation and Disarmament, the Argentinian ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi, the outgoing chair of the NSG who has been appointed the facilitator by the current chair of the NSG, had this to say about the 11 November meeting.

“… what we are looking for is something which is of general application. We are not working on the basis of Country A or Country B or Country C. We are working on something that, if successful, it is a big if because it is a big issue and the problems are big. If successful, this is not something which is going to be for the benefit of Country A or for the benefit of Country B or for the benefit of Country C. It is, if I may put it like this, an attempt to address the challenge or the question put to the group by the existence of three non-NPT countries which actively aspire to become members of the NSG. This is as much as I think I could say,” Grossi told the conference when a participant asked whether the 11 November meeting would complete a two-stage or two step process for deciding the membership of the non-NPT countries.

What the two-stage process meant was that in the first stage criteria or principles for the membership of the NPT would be decided and in the second stage, the individual country’s application for the membership will be decided. He told that there was nothing called ‘a two-step or stage process’ designated by the NSG, but he admitted that in practice, something like this was happening.

So, what really happened on 11 November 2016 and what were the member countries or the participant governments of the NSG expecting to happen? Grossi informed that he had undertaken the consultation process as per the desire of the present chair and participating governments of the NSG to build a consensus about new members. Of course, India is a prime candidate whether spoken openly or not. Quite significantly, the consultation process of the facilitator has demonstrated ‘a massive interest in all Participating Governments’.

That the meeting of 11 November was convened to discuss membership of non-NPT countries has been endorsed by even China which is seen opposing India’s membership on technical grounds. It issued a press release informing that on 11 November, NSG met in Vienna “to discuss ‘Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of Non-NPT States’ Participation in the NSG’, in accordance with the mandate adopted by the Seoul Plenary in June this year.” The release noted that China along with several countries had submitted papers regarding the membership of the Non-NPT countries. It stated that China’s participation was constructive and ‘contributed its substantive inputs’.

The Chinese government also observed that for the first time in the history of the NSG (ever since it had been formed in 1975), the issue of the membership of the non-NPT countries had been taken up ‘in an open and transparent manner.’ It is not clear what China wants to convey. If it indicates openness and transparency regarding proceedings of the NSG meet, it may be debatable. If it means that for the first time the matter of non-NPT countries was taken, it is a distortion of the NSG history.

It is an open secret that the NSG was formed to bring a non-NPT country like France into a control framework. This fact can be endorsed not only by diplomats who had participated in the process of the formation of the NSG but also by available archival materials. Leave alone a number of articles in journals and newspapers and several books on the subject. In fact, available archival materials in the US and Canadian libraries also inform that a non-NPT country like India, which had conducted Peaceful Nuclear Explosion in 1974, was also considered for the NSG membership in the very beginning.

The outcome of the 11 November NSG meeting, if the Chinese press release is to be believed, remained inconclusive. For China, the convening of this meeting was necessary for taking the first step of the two-step process. The release further notes that “China supports the continuation of this open and transparent inter-governmental process, in accordance with relevant rules of the Group, and to ensure a solid first step taken towards an early formula on the above issue, so that the Group can proceed to the second step of taking up country specific membership application by non-NPT states at an early date.” The statement implies that even the first step of formulating principles is to be completed before considering any individual application.

The most intriguing part of the release reflecting the Chinese thinking is “any formula worked out should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT states; without prejudice to the core value of the NSG and the effectiveness, authority and integrity of the international non-proliferation regime with the NPT as its cornerstone; and without contradicting the customary international law in the field of non-proliferation.”

It is a common knowledge that China is playing the Pakistani card to block India’s entry into the Group. Jane’s Group and the King’s College London published a report highlighting the dubious proliferation track record of Pakistan. Several reports on the Pakistani proliferation network are already in the public domain. The entire world knows what Pakistan is doing with non-proliferation norm and practices. In fact, about a year ago, an American Congress Committee discussed the idea of a 2008 India type waiver to Pakistan, and overwhelmingly, the committee rejected the idea. China knows it fully well that Pakistan needs more than the two-stage process for the NSG membership.

What is going to happen next? India is going to get the membership soon. The signal emitting from other member countries suggest that China is being forced to decide. Apparently, in the 11 November meeting, the leading countries of the NSG conveyed China the cost of resisting India’s membership. Before conveying this, seemingly, some of the countries, which in principle support India’s membership but had participated in the discussion led by China in the Seoul Plenary for evolving criteria for non-NPT members, were asked to join the consensus. Now it appears that there is a solid block minus China supporting India’s membership for the NSG. The idea was to isolate China completely.

The reading between the lines of the Chinese press release tips off that even China has started reconciling about membership of the NSG to a non-NPT country like India. It may take an extra meeting or two of the NSG to finalise India’s membership. India should continue its bilateral discussions with China and communicate that a cooperative, not confronting approach with India is the need of the hour for global and Asian governance.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 20:48 IST

India’s NSG bid: China sticks to tough stand; calls for ‘non-discriminatory’, applicable solution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China, which has been blocking India’s NSG bid, on Tuesday maintained its tough stand on the issue and called for a two-step “non-discriminatory” solution to admit non-NPT members into the 48-member elite grouping.China’s remarks came as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its meeting in Vienna November 11 discussed a formula acting on India’s application to join it.”We maintain that we should follow two-step approach. First we should find out a solution that is applicable to all non-NPT members applications to the NSG through consultations and discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here outlining China’s stand at the Vienna meeting.The second step is to discuss specific non-NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) members’ admission into the NSG, he said.”We believe that the solution should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT members and it must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT,” he said.”We hope that we can enter into the second step after finishing the first step at an early date which is to talk about specific non-NPT members joining the NSG,” he said.China’s stand for a non-discriminatory criteria is regarded significant as Pakistan, a close ally of Beijing too has applied for the NSG membership along with India.China, which has blocked earlier India’s entry on the ground that India has not signed the NPT, has held two rounds of talks with India and Pakistan about their admission into the group.India has secured the backing of the US and majority of the NSG members based on its non-proliferation record in comparison to Pakistan which faced serious allegations of nuclear proliferation in the past specially with regard to its nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan.Geng said at the Vienna meeting of the NSG, members talked about the technical, legal and political matters relating non-NPT members accession to the NSG.He said this is the first time the group talked about entry of the new members.Earlier a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “It is the first time a discussion, not only since the Seoul Plenary, but also since the NSG’s inception in 1975, for the Group to formally take up the issue of non-NPT states’ participation in an open and transparent manner”.Geng said the discussion about the entry of new members is a “good start”.”We believe it is good start and we will continue to support the NSG in following through on the first step and explore the final solution at an early date,” he said.India has been maintaining that NPT membership was not essential for joining the NSG, as was the case with France.

China maintains tough stand on India’s NSG bid, calls for ‘non-discriminatory’ solution

Beijing: China, which has been blocking India’s NSG bid, on Tuesday maintained its tough stand on the issue and called for a two-step “non-discriminatory” solution to admit non-NPT members into the 48-member elite grouping.

China’s remarks came as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its meeting in Vienna on 11 November discussed a formula acting on India’s application to join it.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We maintain that we should follow two-step approach. First, we should find out a solution that is applicable to all non-NPT members applications to the NSG through consultations and discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing outlining China’s stand at the Vienna meeting.

The second step is to discuss specific non-NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) members’ admission into the NSG, he said.

“We believe that the solution should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT members and it must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT,” he said.

“We hope that we can enter into the second step after finishing the first step at an early date which is to talk about specific non-NPT members joining the NSG,” he said.

China’s stand for a non-discriminatory criteria is regarded significant as Pakistan, a close ally of Beijing too has applied for the NSG membership along with India. China, which has blocked earlier India’s entry on the ground that India has not signed the NPT, has held two rounds of talks with India and Pakistan about their admission into the group.

India has secured the backing of the US and majority of the NSG members based on its non-proliferation record in comparison to Pakistan which faced serious allegations of nuclear proliferation in the past specially with regard to its nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan.

Geng said at the Vienna meeting of the NSG, members talked about the technical, legal and political matters relating non-NPT members accession to the NSG.

He said this is the first time the group talked about entry of the new members.

Earlier a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “It is the first time a discussion, not only since the Seoul Plenary, but also since the NSG’s inception in 1975, for the Group to formally take up the issue of non-NPT states’ participation in an open and transparent manner.”

Geng said the discussion about the entry of new members is a “good start”.

“We believe it is good start and we will continue to support the NSG in following through on the first step and explore the final solution at an early date,” he said.

India has been maintaining that NPT membership was not essential for joining the NSG, as was the case with France.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 15:04 IST

Narendra Modi should tighten leash on Manohar Parrikar for his, India’s interests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should have a word with his defence minister once he returns from his visit to Japan. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar needs to have the responsibilities of his high office explicitly explained to him. For a defence minister to talk loosely about India’s nuclear prowess at a time when the PM was en route Japan is unconscionable.

The garrulous minister poked a hole through India’s nuclear posture on Thursday, questioning a basic premise of India’s nuclear policy which New Delhi has been using in its negotiations with Japan as well as in its campaign for admission to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group. Parrikar’s strenuous, but late efforts claiming that these were his personal views do not hold water. Persons holding important offices should keep their personal views private and not bandy them at official functions.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Addressing the audience at a book release function, the defence minister expounded on India’s nuclear policy, saying that India should not bind itself to a no-first-use policy. “Why should I bind myself?” Parrikar asked.

India had announced a moratorium on nuclear testing shortly after conducting nuclear tests in 1998; the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had announced a no-first-use of nuclear weapons policy in 2003.

India’s nuclear policy has an important bearing on the Indo-Japan nuclear cooperation deal, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed on Friday. Japan has always stressed on a nullification clause in the nuclear agreement, which states that Japan would nullify the agreement if India were to conduct further nuclear tests.

On its part, India always cited its “unilateral moratorium” on nuclear testing to counter the Japanese demand. It had urged Japan to accept the declaration in the same way as other countries have done in their nuclear cooperation agreements with India. Indian and Japanese negotiators have been working to devise a way around this impediment by conveying the same sentiment in more acceptable phraseology.

Not just that, India’s case for admission to the Nuclear Supplier’s Group is based on its record as a responsible nuclear power. Being a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), India holds that its “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons policy meets the same purpose. Under the no-first-use policy, India declared that it would not use nuclear weapons unless attacked with nuclear weapons.

Indians have often assumed an air of superiority when Pakistani leaders have spoken of using nuclear weapons, including tactical battlefield weapons. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had asked “what do we have nuclear weapons for?” in a television interview. Parrikar’s remarks are in a similar vein. A defence minister should have a greater understanding of the implications of stated government policy.

Parrikar is known to put his foot in his mouth quite regularly. He had once referred to the Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch, LK Advani as “rancid pickle” during the tussle for supremacy in the party. The former Goa chief minister is not fluent in Hindi as he often proclaims during his speeches, but it is his thoughts and “personal opinions” that are more bothersome than his grammatical errors.

The IIT-Mumbai trained Minister was roundly criticised for his gratuitous insult to the Indian Army as he tried to appropriate the credit for the surgical strikes. In his first remarks after the Indian Army’s surgical strikes along the Line of Control, the defence minister likened the army to Hanuman, who needed to be reminded of his extraordinary powers by Jamwant. The Minister had said that the “Indian troops were like Hanuman who did not quite know their prowess before the surgical strikes”.

The NDA government has a record number of gabby ministers who like to spout off on their pet peeves or are quick to get into controversy through instant tweets or off-hand remarks. Prime Minister Modi was forced to caution his ministers and senior BJP leaders not to speak out of turn and indulge in chest-thumping in their comments after the Indian Army’s action along the LoC. On more than one occasion, Modi has indicated to his council of ministers that he wants them to stay away from controversies, stick to their own subjects and concentrate on their work. But, verily, someone should tell Parrikar to stick to his brief.

First Published On : Nov 11, 2016 19:15 IST

Modi in Japan: Full text of the Prime Minister’s media statement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday expressed gratitude to his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe for the support extended for India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).‘I wish to thank Prime Minister Abe for the support extended for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,’ Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) quoted Prime Minister Modi as saying.India and Pakistan are the two non-NPT states aspiring for the membership of the 48-member international nuclear trade body.Many countries, including China, had opposed India’s bid to join the NSG at its last meeting in June citing that the latter has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is the basic criteria to enter the NSG.Full Statement by Prime Minister during his visit to JapanNovember 11, 2016Your Excellency, Prime Minister Abe,Friends,Mina-Sama, Komban Wa!A Zen Buddhist saying in Japanese says – “Ichigo Ichie” , which means that our every meeting is unique and we must treasure every moment.I have visited Japan many times, and this is my second visit as Prime Minister. And, every visit has been unique, special, educative and deeply rewarding.I have met Excellency Abe on many occasions in Japan, India and around the world. I have also had the privilege of receiving several high level Japanese political and business leaders in India in the last couple of years.The frequency of our interaction demonstrates the drive, dynamism and depth of our ties. It also reflects our continuing commitment to realize the full potential of our Special Strategic and Global Partnership.Friends, In our conversation today, Prime Minister Abe and I took stock of the progress in our ties since the last Summit. It is clear to both of us that our cooperation has progressed on multiple fronts.Deeper economic engagement, growth of trade, manufacturing and investment ties, focus on clean energy, partnership to secure our citizens, and cooperation on infrastructure and skill development are among our key priorities.Today’s signing of the Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership.Our cooperation in this field will help us combat the challenge of Climate Change. I also acknowledge the special significance that such an agreement has for Japan.I thank Prime Minister Abe the Japanese government and the Parliament for their support to this agreement.Friends,India and its economy are pursuing many transformations. Our aim is to become a major centre for manufacturing, investments and for the twenty first century knowledge industries.And, in this journey, we see Japan as a natural partner. We believe there is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, whether of capital, technology or human resources, to work for mutual benefit.In terms of specific projects, we remain focused on making strong progress on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project. Our engagement and agreement on cooperation in the financial sector will help us in accessing greater resources for infrastructure development.Our dialogue in regard to training and skills development has broken new ground, and is an important component of our economic partnership. We are also shaping new partnerships in areas such as space science, marine and earth since, textiles, sports, agriculture and postal banking.Friends,Our strategic partnership is not only for the good and security of our own societies. It also brings peace, stability and balance to the region. It is alive and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges in Asia-Pacific.As countries with an inclusive outlook, we have agreed to cooperate closely to promote connectivity, infrastructure and capacity-building in the regions that occupy the inter-linked waters of the Indo-Pacific.The successful Malabar naval exercise has underscored the convergence in our strategic interests in the broad expanse of the waters of the Indo-Pacific.As democracies, we support openness, transparency and the rule of law. We are also united in our resolve to combat the menace of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism.Friends,The relations between our two countries are blessed by deep cultural and people to people ties. During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India in December last year, I had committed to take steps to create basis for their further expansion.And, as a result, since March 2016 we extended ‘Visa-On Arrival’ facility to all Japanese nationals. We have also gone a step further in extending a long-term 10-year visa facility to eligible Japanese business persons.Friends,India and Japan also consult and cooperate closely in regional and international fora. We will continue to work together for reforms of the United Nations and strive together for our rightful place in the UN Security Council.I wish to thank Prime Minister Abe for the support extended for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.Excellency Abe,We both recognize that the future of our partnership is rich and robust. There is no limit to the scope and scale of what we can do together, for ourselves and for the region.And, a key reason for this is your strong and dynamic leadership. It is indeed a privilege to be your partner and friend. I wish to thank you for the most valuable outcomes of this Summit, and for your generous welcome and hospitality.Anata No O Motenashi O Arigato Gozaimashita!(Thank you for your kind hospitality!)

Ahead of NSG meet, China refuses to budge on India’s bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of this week’s NSG meet in Vienna, China stuck to its guns on Monday saying there was “no change” in its stand on India’s membership bid which it has indicated would be considered only after rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group. “This Friday in Vienna a plenary session of the NSG will be held. Our position is subject to no change as of date,” Lu Kang, Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a media briefing here. Referring to the November 4 meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and China in Hyderabad, Lu said China is in close contact with relevant parties including India and have been having constructive dialogue and coordination on this issue. NSA Ajit Doval had held talks with Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad during which the issue had reportedly figured.The talks were held ahead of the meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna on November 11-12, where according to media reports the group could discuss the two-stage process to admit new members who have not signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).India and Pakistan which have applied for NSG membership have not signed the NPT. Last week, China, after the second round talks with India on its entry into the NSG, had said that it will first seek a solution to admit all countries who have not signed NPT and then discuss India’s specific application. “On India’s accession to the NSG, I can tell you that China’s position is very clear and consistent” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had said. “We will seek a solution that applies to all Non-NPT countries and then we will discuss the specific application of relevant non-NPT country,” she had said. The issue had also been discussed in the talks here between Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun on October 31. That meeting was held ahead of Doval and Yang meeting in Hyderabad.China has also been holding simultaneous talks with Pakistan on its admission into the NSG. Officials say that the focus now shifts on the kind of modalities being worked out by NSG which can accommodate India, whose non-proliferation record is regarded positive by a majority of the group’s members contrary to Pakistan’s record in nuclear proliferation. About the outcome of Doval and Yang meeting at Hyderabad, Kang said the two officials exchanged views on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of common interest.Asked whether India’s concerns over China blocking UN ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar, Lu said they discussed issues that have “cropped up” in bilateral relations. They agreed to maintain contact, and control and manage relevant issues to ensure steady development of bilateral relations, he said.

NSG bid: India, China meet for ‘substantive and constructive’ discussions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Monday held “substantive and constructive” discussions on India’s bid for NSG membership during the second round of talks between their top nuclear experts in Beijing. Following the first such meeting in New Delhi on September 13, India and China continued their discussions on the NSG issue in Beijing on Monday when JS (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill met Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun, sources said.”The talks were substantive and constructive. The engagement will continue as per the directive of the leadership,” sources said. During the talks, India once again asserted to the Chinese side that its implementation of Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) principles was “second to none”.Today’s talks come ahead of a possible informal consultations in next two months on India’s membership in a NSG panel, headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT. Wang, who was the Chief negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, had told reporters that signing of the NPT “is a must”, maintaining that the rule has not been set by China but by the international community.Wang had also warned “if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non- proliferation regime will collapse altogether”.China has been maintaining that the question of the non- NPT states’ participation is, in essence, a multilateral issue, and can only be subject to multilateral solution by the Group. China also pointed out that the issue of the non-NPT states’ participation in the NSG raises new questions for the Group under the new circumstances, and the crux of the above question is how to address the gap between the existing policies and practices of the non-NPT states and the existing international non-proliferation rules and norms based on the NPT as the cornerstone.

Decision on India’s NSG bid to be taken soon: New Zealand PM John Key

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.After the “productive” talks between the two Prime Ministers, the two sides inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues. Asserting that they had detailed and productive discussions on all aspects of the bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation, Modi at a joint media event with Key said, “I am thankful to Prime Minister Key for New Zealand’s constructive approach to the consideration of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”There was no clear word of support on India’s entry into 48-nation NSG from the visiting leader, who only said, “New Zealand would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership.” Noting that they had a “detailed” discussion on India’s NSG bid, Key also said, “New Zealand is committed to working with NSG members to reach a decision as soon as possible.” New Zealand acknowledged the “importance to India of it joining the NSG”, a joint statement issued after the talks said, adding that India stressed that this would provide the predictability necessary for meeting India’s clean energy goals in the context of the Paris agreements.New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in nuclear material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).On security and counter-terrorism ties, Modi said they have agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. According to the joint statement, the two Prime Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation, bilaterally as well as in the framework of UN and especially in 1267 Committee, to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats in all their forms and manifestations.”They called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border terrorism. Both sides called for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that would contribute to the further strengthening of the international counter-terrorism legal framework,” it added. Asserting that trade and investment ties were one of the key areas during the talks, Modi said they recognised the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in the global economy. It was agreed that expanding business and commercial ties should continue to be one of the priority items of the partnership, he said, adding that the large business delegation accompanying Prime MinisterKey will witness firsthand the investment opportunities on offer in India’s growth story. Identifying food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation, Modi said New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both the societies. “We also agreed that actions by both governments should also promote greater business connectivity, including through movement of skilled professionals, between our two economies and societies. “In this regard, we have agreed to continue to work closely towards an early conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” he said.He further added that along side extensive bilateral engagement, the bilateral cooperation also extends to the global arena. On regional issues, the two sides have agreed to enhance cooperation, including in the East Asia Summit process. Noting that reform of international governance institutions is a shared priority for both of them, Modi said, “We are thankful for New Zealand’s support to India joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. “As we make our own contribution to the developmental efforts of the Pacific Island countries, we will continue to consult closely with New Zealand to complement and supplement each other’s efforts.”Modi also said it was a particular pleasure to receive Prime Minister Key in India during the festive season given that it was now a regular feature for the New Zealand Parliament to celebrate the festival of Diwali and, Key has also participated in several of these festivities.

Indians ‘self-centered and self-righteous’; blocking India’s NSG bid ‘morally legitimate’: China’s state media

Defending China’s opposition to India’s entry into the NSG as ‘morally legitimate’, a state- run daily today hit out at India saying the West has “spoiled” the country making it a “bit smug” in international affairs.In a hard hitting editorial, Global Times said it was rules not China that prevented India’s entry into the 48-nation elite nuclear trading body.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said at least 10 countries, including China, have opposed the accession of non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into the NSG.”India is not a signatory to the NPT, but is the most active applicant to join the NSG. Before the Seoul meeting, the Indian media played up the prospects of its bid. Some even claim that among the 48 members of the NSG, 47 have given it a green light, except China,” said the editorial titled ‘Delhi’s NSG bid upset by rules, not Beijing’.”…India wants to be the first exception to join the NSG without signing the NPT. It is morally legitimate for China and other members to upset India’s proposal in defence of principles,” said the tabloid, part of the ruling Communist Party of China’s publications.The daily known for its nationalistic postures said India is emerging as the “golden boy” of the West.”Recent years have seen the Western world giving too many thumbs up to India, but thumbs down to China. India is spoiled. Although the South Asian country’s GDP accounts for only 20 per cent of that of China, it is still a golden boy in the eyes of the West, having a competitive edge and more potential compared to China. The international ‘adulation’ of India makes the country a bit smug in international affairs,” it said.Criticising Indian media and public reaction on India’s failed NSG bid, it, however, said the Indian government has behaved “decently”.”Some Indians are too self-centered and self-righteous. On the contrary, the Indian government behaves decently and is willing to communicate. Throwing a tantrum won’t be an option for New Delhi,” it said.”India’s nationalists should learn how to behave themselves. Now that they wish their country could be a major power, they should know how major powers play their games,” the daily said.Taking exception to the US’ support to India for NSG entry, the editorial said, “US backing adds the biggest impetus to India’s ambition. By cosying up to India, Washington’s India policy actually serves the purpose of containing China.””The US is not the whole world. Its endorsement does not mean India has won the backing of the world. This basic fact, however, has been ignored by India,” it said.

Diplomatic efforts by Pakistan prevented India from gaining NSG membership: Sartaj Aziz

Pakistan’s intensive diplomatic lobbying, including letters written by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his 17 counterparts, prevented India from gaining entry into the NSG, the country’s top diplomat claimed on Monday. Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that hectic diplomatic efforts were made to inform the world leaders about Pakistan’s position on the NSG entry.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Prime Minister Sharif personally wrote letters to 17 prime ministers of different countries on the matter, which is on record,” Aziz said told journalists.The Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) meeting last week failed to achieve consensus over the entry of India as some countries including China objected that the being non-NPT signatory, India was not eligible for the membership.Pakistan has been trumpeting it as success but it at the same time it was seldom mentioned here what happened to its own application for the membership. Pakistan tried to sell the idea that a criteria-based non-discriminatory approach was needed to admit new members.India and Pakistan are the two non-NPT states aspiring for the membership of the 48-member nuclear grouping.Aziz also said that security agencies are in the process of compiling more evidence against arrested alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav. He said that legal proceedings against Jadhav would begin soon.Pakistan claims its security forces had arrested Jadhav from Balochistan in March and alleged that he was “a serving officer in the Indian Navy.” It accused Jadhav of planning “subversive activities” in the country. India has acknowledged that Jadhav had served with the navy but denied that he has any connection with the government.

China refutes India’s allegation, says ‘many countries had views’on NSG bid of non-NPT countries

Days after India blamed “one country” for blocking its entry into NSG, China on Monday said “many countries” had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the nuclear trading club as it harped on the need for forging consensus over the issue.”As we have learnt, the plenary meeting issued a news release that the meeting held discussions on technical legal and political issues regarding the accession of non-NPT members and agreed to continue with such discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing. Asked about India blaming “one country” of blocking the entry of new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by raising procedural objections, Hong said at the plenary meeting in Seoul “many countries had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the group.” “We believe that they should forge a consensus and then make a decision based on consultations and thorough discussions regarding the entry of the specific country,” he said, without directly referring to India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to reports about the appointment of Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi as the “facilitator” for informal consultations on India’s admission into NSG, Hong said, “We have never heard of any follow up steps.” Hong also did not respond to a question on reports that NSG is expected to meet again later this year after Mexico’s initiative to discuss the entry of non-NPT members into the grouping. “This is what we know about this plenary meeting. I also want to point out that for quite a long time, including in plenary in Seoul, China has been prompting the NSG to have thorough discussions on accession of non-NPT countries,” Hong said.India and Pakistan, who applied for membership of the 48-member NSG, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which China insists is a must for joining the grouping. China was unrelenting in thwarting India’s NSG bid last week despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India’s case on its merits.An upset India later accused “one country”, a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.

India deserves to be in NSG, the US will work for it, says Ambassador Richard Verma

New Delhi: The US is “disappointed” that India was not admitted to NSG during its recent plenary in Seoul, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said on Monday but asserted that it will continue to work with all the members of 48-nation grouping on India’s accession in the months ahead.

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIBUS Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma. PIB

Referring to Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation, he said the two sides have moved forward on a 15-year project to build six Westinghouse reactors producing power for some 60 million people.

“This is a deal that had been pending for 10 years, and we were pleased to see it move even closer to fruition,” he said.

Addressing the Atlantic Council US-India Trade Initiative workshop, Verma talked about the US’ strong support for India’s role in global institutions, like having a seat on a reformed UN security council.

“We continued to welcome India’s interest in APEC, and we strongly affirmed our support for India’s accession into the multi-lateral export control regimes,” he added.

“With regard to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), six years ago, President (Barack) Obama first expressed his support for India’s membership in the NSG. Since that time, we have worked closely with our Indian counterparts and NSG members to help advance India’s case for membership. India has a strong record, and deserves to be included in the NSG,” he said.

“That is why the Administration, including senior White House and State Department officials, made a concerted effort to secure India’s membership in the recent NSG plenary session held in Seoul. We were disappointed India was not admitted during this recent session, but we will continue to work constructively with India and all the NSG members on India’s accession in the months ahead,” the top US envoy said.

India faced stiff opposition from China and a few other countries and the fact that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was used for foiling India’s bid at the Seoul meeting despite the US’ strong backing.

Verma also said that the US’ designation of India as a Major Defence Partner will bring the militaries, industries, and defence ministries of the two countries even closer in the years ahead.

In climate and clean energy, US has launched several new clean energy financing programmes to support India’s 175 GW target for renewable power, he said noting that both Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were committed to full implementation of the historic Paris climate agreement.

“We are in this with India for the long-term in bringing clean reliable power to the 300 million Indians who lack it and simultaneously battling to keep the earth’s temperatures from rising to dangerous levels,” he added.

Referring to the recent meetings between Obama and Modi, who was in the US earlier this month, he said they helped to institutionalize the bilateral cooperation and put it on a long-term footing for close collaboration in several key areas.

“In short, the Prime Minister’s visit marked a new level of strategic convergence and consolidation in our partnership,” he said.

Border dispute, ’emerging new issues’ major challenge for ties with India: China

China has said the vexed border dispute with India and some ’emerging new issues’ pose a ‘major challenge’ to the development of bilateral ties.”As the two neighbouring countries, China and India have historical issues such as the border dispute and also some emerging new issues with the development of the relations between the two countries. How to deal with these issues is a major challenge for the relationship between the two countries,” Chinese Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Li Huilai said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The two sides have agreed to strengthen communication and dialogue, and to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through friendly consultations, and to manage and control these issues so that the overall development of the relationship between the two countries is not affected,” he told PTI.The Minister, however, did not specify what are the “emerging new issues” faced by the two countries.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who was on a five-day visit to China last week, had said on Friday that the differences between India and China on the boundary issue and other matters may have “some marginal effect” on bilateral trade but businesses between the two sides have been expanding.The two countries held talks in April this year to resolve the vexed border dispute. While China claims the border dispute is confined to 2,000 kilometres, mainly Arunachal Pradesh in eastern sector which it claims as part of southern Tibet, India asserts the dispute covered the whole of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) including the Aksai Chin occupied by China during the 1962 war.The Chinese Assistant Minister also said that the main task that lies ahead for both China and India is to implement the consensus between leaders of both countries and strengthen the good momentum of the development in their ties.”Over the past years, China and India have kept their relationship developing in a sound and steady manner. The leaders of the two countries have successfully exchanged visits and met repeatedly, reaching an important consensus on deepening the strategic partnership between China and India and building a closer partnership for development,” said Li.Asked why Beijing blocked India’s bid to get Jaish-e- Mohammed chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN, he said, “China supports the fight against terrorism in all forms and advocates strengthening international counter-terrorism cooperation. We support the UN in playing a central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism campaign.””The Chinese side always follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure. China is in sound communication with all parties including India on this matter. We also encourage direct communication of the parties concerned and enhancing mutual understanding, and work to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation,” Li said.Replying to a question on China’s opposition to India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), when most of its members, including the US, are in its favour, he said, “NSG members remain divided on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries. Therefore, we call for further and thorough discussions within the group in order to make decisions based on consultation.””China’s position applies to all non-NPT countries and targets no one in particular. The fact is that many countries within the group also share China’s stance,” he said.

Confident on NSG entry, current hurdle ‘not a diplomatic failure’: Vikas Swarup

Asserting that India would continue to talk with China to further its mission to gain entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Ministry of External Affairs on Sunday said that New Delhi met the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) criteria, adding the current hurdle was not a diplomatic failure.Speaking to ANI in New Delhi, MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup stated that procedural hurdles were part of such deals, adding that India applied for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) 10 years ago, and has achieved successful entry into both groups in this week alone.”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,” Swarup said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about the countries, besides China, who had raised oppositions to India joining the NSG, he said there, is a bit of disinformation floating 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,” Swarup said.With the NSG and China setting the NPT as a crucial criterion for gaining entry, the diplomat asserted that India has already implemented all the provisions meeting the criteria and that it has all the credentials to be part of the NSG.”India is an important member of the nuclear comer club. We are building 38 reactors within the country. Every year more than 150 plus export licenses on nuclear related items are issues by India. This itself tells the need of India to be inside the NSG. Our credentials on non proliferation speak for itself,” Swarup said.Asserting that nobody in the global economy can equate India with Pakistan on the NPT issue, the spokesperson added 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,” Swarup said. Indicating that India would continue to discuss the matter with China, he added that a relationship only moves forward if both sides are mindful of each other”s concerns and priorities.Meanwhile, the NSG will meet yet 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 year end. According to sources, there is possibility of India’s inclusion in the NSG, while New Delhi will continue to discuss the issue with China. The NSG earlier on Thursday failed to reach a consensus on New Delhi’s membership application after several members of the 48-member group insisted on adhering to NPT conditions for admission.

NSG forms informal panel for India’s bid; likely to meet again this year

Looks like all is not lost yet for India’s bid for NSG membership. According to NDTV, NSG will meet again this year to discuss the process to allow countries like India who have not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report says that Mexico suggested that another meeting should be held for considering India’s NSG bid. Sources said that Mexico’s suggestion was also opposed by China but it found support from a large number of countries including the US.The report adds that an informal panel has been set up by the NSG to focus on India’s membership and it will headed by Argentinian Ambassador Rafael Grossi.The United States on Friday had said that there is ‘a path forward’ for India to become a full member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of the year, hours after the group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition.”We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year,” a top Obama administration official said.”It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the official said on condition of anonymity.Vikas Swarup, spokersperson for Ministry of External Affairs said, “There are some processes which take longer,I’d evaluate the NSG membership process in that category. India to continue discussion with China on NSG issue. There is a possibility of India’s inclusion.”He said only China stood between Indi’s NSG bid. “Some countries did raise procedure-related issues but not a single country apart from that one country opposed India’s membership of NSG. There was only one country which persistently raised procedural hurdles as a result of which no decision could be arrived at.”Swarup said India had fulfilled all criteria to become a member of NSG. He said, “Our position on NPT is very well known. As far as NSG is concerned, NSG said implementation of NPT is important. As far as India is concerned we have already implemented all NPT provisions. To the extent that goal post remains implementation of NPT, we believe we have met criteria amd have all credentials to be NSG member.”With agency inputs.

India’s NSG bid: JD(U) says Modi govt treating foreign policy as ‘event management exercise’

Indicting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA regime for treating foreign policy as an event management exercise, the Janata Dal (United) on Saturday said the Centre pursued their membership in the NSG elite group with inadequate backroom diplomacy and lack of preparation.”I think foreign policy is a matter of national consensus, so we should not try to see it in partisan political terms. But I do believe that the manner in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and this government pursued their membership of NSG showed lack of preparation, inadequate backroom diplomacy and too much hype in terms of possible results,” JD (U) leader Pavan Verma said. Verma further said that the main problem with the NDA Government is that they fail to realize that foreign policy is a calibrated, quiet and strategic doctrine and not an event management exercise.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yesterday, China said that the NSG will not discuss the membership bid, adding that New Delhi will first have to sign the NPT, as it is a must and a major criteria set up by the NSG. Earlier, highly placed sources told ANI that China is not the sole opponent to India’s member ship to the NSG, but Brazil, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and New Zealand too have opposed India’s entry, citing it’s not being a signatory of the NPT for nuclear weapons and weapons technology.Meanwhile, on a day on mixed developments for India Canada and Braxil have extended their complete support to New Delhi. According to sources, Brazil supported India’s bid but called for a common criteria for all non-NPT states. Brazil also said that India has by far a better nuclear proliferation record than Pakistan. However, in a complete shocker, Switzerland, who had earlier extended its complete support, has now opposed New Delhi’s bid citing it being a non NPT state.This comes as a jolt for India as earlier, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Switzerland, the European nation had extended its complete support.

India’s NSG dream: It’s time to assess true nature of China’s opposition

The Chinese veto on India’s determined bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is Narendra Modi’s first major foreign policy reverse, even though this may not be permanent. But it shows the kind of misplaced assumptions driving his policy in regard to India’s two main adversaries – China and Pakistan. At NSG, the two adversaries combined with some neutrals to block India.

This reverse could have been anticipated by anyone who has an elementary understanding of power play and geopolitics when combined with national interest. Simply put, it is not in China’s national interest to allow India a greater role in international politics. It is not in its interest to ease India’s path to growth where its economic or military clout will challenge China. So why do we expect China to play a positive role when it comes to our interests?

The arguments used by China to halt India’s entry into the NSG may or may not have validity in our eyes. But surely it does have a technical point in saying entry must be based on formal criteria for entry? China has cleverly used India’s non-ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Pakistan’s (equal) claims to block the entry, even garnering stray support from the likes of Turkey, Austria, Brazil, New Zealand, Switzerland and Ireland.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. File photo. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. File photo. PTI

The reason for this is obvious too: China’s global economic and political heft, and the little countries’ own sense of importance, which will diminish if big players like India enter the scene. One can only guess at the behind-the-scenes arm-twisting and blandishments offered by China to the smaller members of the NSG to get them to resist pressures from other big gorillas in the global power league, including the US, and other permanent members of the UN Security Council. The US interest in helping India may be obvious, but what do New Zealand or Turkey (which is fast becoming an Islamist state) gain from backing India?

It is this inability of our strategists to understand elementary principles of global politics and power that is baffling.

While Narendra Modi has worked hard for a deal, one cannot but conclude that our expectation that it could happen this time was unreasonable. We assumed that when some of the western powers are ready to back us, China will fall in line. But that is not the way big power politics works. China has replaced Russia as the world’s No 2 superpower. The growing US-India axis has raised hackles in Beijing, and China is strengthening its alliance with Pakistan to keep us off balance.

This misstep indicates how India seems unprepared to take a hard-headed view of the true nature of the opposition it faces from China. India is both a civilisational and strategic threat to China, especially now that India has chosen to get closer to the US.

In a club where consensus is the norm, it needs only one big power to say no and entry can be barred. So before pushing our case with aggressive diplomacy, we should have got an informal nod from China on whether it would bloc our entry, and at what price it will consider a positive response. This would have been fairly easy to ascertain, but we still ignored the signals and went the whole hog with our bid. Seeking China’s concurrence last was tantamount to ensuring a firm “no” from the Dragon. China is never scared of playing hardball. The only language China understands is power. Handshakes and smiles and selfies matter little to it once it has decided what is in its best interests.

To be sure, we have not lost anything more than face. But it was unnecessary. We now have to up our learning curve on playing hardball. There are clear lessons to ‎be learnt from this avoidable fiasco. Among them:

1) We should not rush into battle before we have our strategy, including an exit strategy, in place. The Abhimanyu logic of getting into a Chakravyuh without knowing how to get out is folly. Raw courage without an exit strategy is fine in a suicide bomber, but not someone who wants to win and stay alive.

2) We have to understand our opposition and enemies better. How did our diplomats and the PMO even start believing we are in with a chance when China has shown unremitting hostility and opposition to our great power ambitions — not just at NSG, but also the UN Security Council, among other things. The first step to winning is to know your enemy.

3) Personal equations are for optics, and not central to success. It is certainly not a substitute for building leverage with key players, including naysayers. Let’s say you want to build leverage with China. The time to begin is not a few weeks before the Seoul meeting, but at least two years before that, if not more. China may be interested in a bargain provided you have something to give in return that it values.

Alternately, you should have the capacity to damage its interests. For example, the India-China trade balance is skewed. China exports three times as much to us as we export to them. If you want leverage this imbalance in your favour in 2018, you should start applying the pressure on Chinese imports little by little from today and start muttering about trade imbalance regularly. We should start erecting non-tariff barriers, starting with one innocuous product, gauge their response, and then extend it to some others. Otherwise, we will end up with Nehru’s flawed “Forward” strategy, without building an ability to counter an aggressive response from China, if it comes. We should, at any rate, start making noises about the quality of Chinese goods, and start clamping down in innocuous products and then do the same with more critical products. You can, at some time, start a trade war if the opponent has more to lose than you. But it takes time to make sure you don’t get charred by the same fire you start.

Then there is the positive side of leverage – the carrot before the stick. We should be dangling big infrastructure contracts and make it clear that award depends on them backing us on NSG or whatever. Pakistan has done this successfully by getting the Chinese interested in their infrastructure. A $28 billion investment is planned in Pakistan. This Chinese investment is not dictated purely by friendship with Pakistan alone, though that has its uses, but by Chinese security interests. China is worried about both Tibet and Xinjiang, and the road to Islamic insurgency in Xinjiang runs through Pakistan. China wants to control that road.

4) We must always have plan B. We can’t bargain with anybody — NSG or UNSC — if they know you need them more than they need you. We should, for example, fast forward work on our thorium-based nuclear technology and fast-breeders. We should, in fact, also plan for a post-nuclear energy world, so that NSG becomes redundant at some point. We should consider developing tactical nuclear weapons and throw a broad hint that it will be used only in case India faces a threat by a stronger power (Hint: China, not Pakistan).

5) Morality has little role in power play. Remember the story of the prodigal son? He is the one who gets the great welcome, not the son who never strayed from the good path. North Korea, the world’s ultimate rogue nation, gets regular doses of bribes from the world for not going further rogue. Pakistan has been repeatedly rewarded for its rogue behaviour on terrorism and proliferation of nuclear technology. China is the world’s big proliferator, but now talks with holy intent on the NPT. Hypocrisy is the language of power. Our own little experiment with ‘bad’ behaviour – Pokhran 2 – got the US to become our ally. So we should know the value of occasional roguery. The world learns to respect those who can give it a bad headache, and India cannot claim access to big power status without the ability to surprise the world with the occasional bad behaviour.

6) Lastly, we have to prepare for the long haul. It does not matter if we enter the NSG this year or in 2020. Today, NSG membership or a UNSC seat looks like a favour to us. We may think it our right, given our size and good behaviour, but this is balderdash. But seven to 10 years hence, when we are a $5 trillion economy, our might will make it our right, especially if our military is proportionately stronger. China waited 20 years after Mao to start asserting its claims on the global stage. We don’t seem to have the patience to wait even five or 10 years. Claiming a big power role is not for economies below $4-5 trillion in GDP. This is not meant to be some arbitrary figure, but is the level at which countries begin to matter globally. Japan and Germany are in this region; Russia nowhere near it. It is a military superpower without the economic heft to make it a superpower. China is already a $11 trillion economy, though its real economic strength may be overstated in dollar terms due to the managed nature of its exchange rate.

At $5 trillion, we will be at least half China’s current size, and in a better position to assert ourselves. At $2 trillion, we don’t matter to many players.

As we withdraw to lick our wounds over NSG, it is worth remembering one simple truth: nice guys finish last.

India NSG membership: Dragon leaves Elephant licking wounds at Seoul

Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself leading a heightened diplomacy, India’s bid to secure membership to the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) hit a dead end on Friday. Atleast 16 countries, led by China, raked up procedural issues as well as India not signing Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to scuttle India’s chances to the elite nuclear club. An upset ministry of external affairs (MEA) in a clear reference to Beijing, said one country persistently created procedural “hurdles” during the two-day discussions at Seoul, where the NSG concluded its plenary meeting.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Opposition bayed for the blood of the PM, terming the developments in Seoul as an “embarrassment” to India, many senior diplomats argued that India’s attempt to seek a high-table at the nuclear club was worth trying. Former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, who was instrumental in getting a waiver from the NSG in 2008, said there was nothing wrong in making a bid. India should no longer fear foreign policy failure. “If India sees an opportunity, New Delhi should be prepared to seize it even if there are risks involved,” he said. Many others also believes that diplomatic blitzkrieg for the NSG was also to test waters for making bid for more higher table, like that of a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.Strategic expert and director of Society for Policies Study, Uday Bhaskar said while the outcome was disappointing, it was not surprising.The NSG works through consensus with even a single country having capacity to halt a decision. Surprise for Indian diplomats was reservations expressed by Brazil and Switzerland. Both of them had earlier committed to support India’s bid. Fresh from Iranian nuclear crisis, the countries forcefully argued to making a case for countries to enter into the NPT, before being allowed to do nuclear trade. They also apprehended, that an exception granted to India would be exploited by other non-NPT countries as well. Pakistan’s application for the membership is also pending before the NSG.The criticism of India was not only that it had not signed the NPT, but also that it had not fulfilled the commitments it made while getting NSG waiver in 2008. Diplomatic sources here said that some countries raised the issue of India’s progress towards CTBT and also separation of its civilian and military nuclear reactors and reports about the safety of nuclear programme.The MEA statement, while blaming one particular country, said signing of the NPT was not necessary as per the NSG rules. But officials here say, there was no problem in signing the NPT if India is formally declared sixth legitimate nuclear power.At the end meeting, the NSG countries in a statement declared “firm support” for “full, complete and effective” implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. The wording was enough to carry a message that no exception will be made in the case of India. It, however, said the grouping will continue to have discussions on participation of countries which have not signed the NPT.MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by ‘one country’, a three-hour long discussion took place on Thursday night on the issue of future participation in the NSG, in which an overwhelming number of those who took the floor supported India’s membership and appraised India’s application positively.“We thank each and every one of them. It is also our understanding that the broad sentiment was to take this matter forward,” he said. He added that an early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed India to move forward on the Paris Climate Change Agreement.Chinese negotiator, Wang Qun, who is director general of China’s Department of Arms Control, told reporters that there was no consensus on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries like India. He insisted that for a country to be a member of NSG, signing of the NPT “is a must”. This rule has not been set by China but by the international community, he added.Chinese stand shows that Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping at Tashkent had failed to yield results.Stating that the PM needs to realise that diplomacy needs “depth and seriousness and not public tamasha,” Congress senior spokesman Anand Sharma said, “We do not know why India showed its desperation and allowed the country to be equated with Pakistan on the issue.”

Like Cameron did for Brexit, will Modi resign for NSG failure: Abhisek Manu Singhvi

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi hit out at PM Modi saying that he should consider retiring like David Cameron did after the Brexit vote. He wrote: “Though am proud of Indian democracy, we have to deepen its quality. Compare Cameron’s statements post Brexit. Would any Indian PM ever do what he said? Not that I don’t understand the difference in issues but would Modiji ever dream of offering resignation on account of Indian NSG failure as Cameron has done? Case for resignation Honourable PM Modiji a la Cameron’s honourable decision?”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress hits out over NSG ‘It is an embarrassment for India to do what was not required. When there are no obstacles when it comes to nuclear trade with the NSG countries, it was unnecessary. We do not know why India showed its desperation and allowed India to be equated with Pakistan on the issue of NSG membership,’ senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma told ANI. ‘It’s high time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi realizes that diplomacy requires gravitas, depth, seriousness and not ‘pubic tamashas’,’ he added.Sharma said that this kind of intense lobbying could be justified in case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government trying to get UN Security Council membership.‘We have never seen diplomacy being conducted in a manner in which Prime Minister Modi and his government have done, making it very clear that whom you are lobbying with and whom you are petitioning with,’ he further said. Earlier today, China said that the NSG will not discuss its membership bid into the elite group, adding that New Delhi will first have to sign the NPT, as it is a must and a major criteria set up by the NSG.Speaking to ANI in Seoul, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Qun asserted that India’s membership has ‘never ever’ been on the agenda of the NSG and that there is no such agenda item for the two-day plenary, adding that there is no point of China opposing or supporting India as well as the membership of other countries.”One thing is clear that India’s membership has never ever been taken up as an agenda item. In the two plenary sessions, there was no extraordinary session on this matter. There is no such agenda matter. In the caveat there could be observations and interventions but that’s all,” he said. Earlier, highly placed sources told ANI that China is not the sole opponent to India’s member ship to the NSG, but Brazil, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and New Zealand too have opposed India’s entry, citing it’s not being a signatory of the NPT for nuclear weapons and weapons technology.Meanwhile, on a day on mixed developments for India Canada and Braxil have extended their complete support to New Delhi.According to sources, Brazil today supported India’s bid but called for a common criteria for all non-NPT states. Brazil also said that India has by far a better nuclear proliferation record than Pakistan. However, in a complete shocker, Switzerland, who had earlier extended its complete support, has now opposed New Delhi’s bid citing it being a non NPT state. This comes as a jolt for India as earlier, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Switzerland, the European nation had extended its complete support. With agency inputs

Modi govt staging ‘public tamashas’ in the name of NSG bid: Congress

Accusing the present Modi Government of indulging in ‘public tamashas’, the Congress Party on Friday dubbed the BJP-led NDA government as ‘desperate’ and accused the saffron party of allowing India into the NSG elite group, saying this kind of hectic campaigning was not required.”It is an embarrassment for India to do what was not required. When there are no obstacles when it comes to nuclear trade with the NSG countries, it was unnecessary. We do not know why India showed its desperation and allowed India to be equated with Pakistan on the issue of NSG membership,” senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It’s high time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi realizes that diplomacy requires gravitas, depth, seriousness and not ‘pubic tamashas’,” he added.Sharma said that this kind of intense lobbying could be justified in case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government trying to get UN Security Council membership.”We have never seen diplomacy being conducted in a manner in which Prime Minister Modi and his government have done, making it very clear that whom you are lobbying with and whom you are petitioning with,” he further said.Earlier on Friday, China said that the NSG will not discuss its membership bid into the elite group, adding that New Delhi will first have to sign the NPT, as it is a must and a major criteria set up by the NSG.Speaking to ANI in Seoul, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Qun asserted that India’s membership has ‘never ever’ been on the agenda of the NSG and that there is no such agenda item for the two-day plenary, adding that there is no point of China opposing or supporting India as well as the membership of other countries.”One thing is clear that India’s membership has never ever been taken up as an agenda item. In the two plenary sessions, there was no extraordinary session on this matter. There is no such agenda matter. In the caveat there could be observations and interventions but that’s all,” he said.Earlier, highly placed sources told ANI that China is not the sole opponent to India’s member ship to the NSG, but Brazil, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and New Zealand too have opposed India’s entry, citing it’s not being a signatory of the NPT for nuclear weapons and weapons technology.Meanwhile, on a day on mixed developments for India Canada and Braxil have extended their complete support to New Delhi.According to sources, Brazil on Friday supported India’s bid but called for a common criteria for all non-NPT states. Brazil also said that India has by far a better nuclear proliferation record than Pakistan.However, in a complete shocker, Switzerland, who had earlier extended its complete support, has now opposed New Delhi’s bid citing it being a non NPT state. This comes as a jolt for India as earlier, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Switzerland, the European nation had extended its complete support.

India’s NSG bid: Most countries have expressed support, claims MEA

Following the conclusion of the annual plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) held at Seoul (23-24 June) reports started pouring in that no significant movement was made on India’s membership application. However, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) in a press release, issued on Friday said that “discussions on expansion of membership, or what is called ‘participation’ in NSG, were certainly not hypothetical.” According to the statement issued by the MEA, India made its application for membership on 12 May, “reflecting the progress in its engagement with the NSG”

Getting into the history of India’ bid for the NSG membership, MEA statement said that the “engagement” began in 2004. “A decision on civil nuclear cooperation with India was adopted by consensus by the NSG in September 2008.

Subsequent to that, regular discussions with NSG have taken place. The point to note is that this is not a new subject. In fact, it is one that has been discussed within the NSG at every Plenary since 2011”, read the MEA statement.

File photo. PTIFile photo. PTI

File photo. PTI

According to the MEA, India’s application acquired immediacy in view of India’s INDC envisaging 40% non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030 and an early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed India to move forward on the Paris Agreement.

In an apparent hint to China’s opposition, the MEA in the statement said that “despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country, a three-hour long discussion took place last night on the issue of future participation in the NSG”.

The MEA also added that notwithstanding the opposition from “one country” India received support from “overwhelming number of those who took the floor” which reflected the “the broad sentiment to take this matter forward”.

Commenting upon the fact that India is not a signatory to NPT, which is seemingly a major roadblock in India’s entry to the elite club, the statement read, “It has been suggested that India’s participation in the NSG requires it to join the NPT. Our stand on the NPT is well known. But let me underline that in September 2008, the NSG itself addressed this issue”.

It adds, “Paragraph 1 (a) of the September 2008 decision states that the decision on India contributes to the “widest possible implementation of the provisions and objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons”. There is thus no contradiction between the NPT and India’s closer engagement with the NSG”.

Talking about the positive outcomes of India’s entry into NSG, the MEA in the statement said that India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest and India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure. “It would advance energy security and make a difference to combating climate change. We are confident that the NSG will recognize these benefits as it deliberates further on this issue”, reads the statement.

The MEA further stated that India feels most countries want an early decision and few countries raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG. “It is self-evident that process issues would not arise if these countries were actually opposed to our participation. This is corroborated by our own bilateral engagement with each of these countries”, reads the statement.

India remains upbeat despite NSG block, calls for ‘early decision’ on its application

With the two day plenary meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) remaining inconclusive regarding India’s fate in the elite organisation on Friday, New Delhi remained buoyant asserting that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest and India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that that despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by ‘one country’, a three-hour long discussion took place last night on the issue of future participation in the NSG, in which an overwhelming number of those who took the floor supported India’s membership and appraised India?s application positively. “We thank each and every one of them. It is also our understanding that the broad sentiment was to take this matter forward,” he said.Stating that India’s membership had been discussed within the NSG at every plenary meeting since 2011, Swarup said that an early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed India to move forward on the Paris Agreement.Talking about China’s claim that India needs to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) first before joining the NSG, he added that there is no contradiction between the NPT and India’s closer engagement with the NSG. “It is also our understanding that most countries want an early decision. A few countries raised issues regarding the process for India’s participation in the NSG. It is self-evident that process issues would not arise if these countries were actually opposed to our participation. This is corroborated by our own bilateral engagement with each of these countries,” Swarup said.Asserting that India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest, the spokesperson said that India’s participation in the NSG will further strengthen nuclear non-proliferation and make global nuclear commerce more secure, adding that it would also advance energy security and make a difference to combating climate change.”We are confident that the NSG will recognize these benefits as it deliberates further on this issue,” he added.Earlier today, China said that the NSG will not discuss its membership bid into the elite group, adding that New Delhi will first have to sign the NPT, as it is a must and a major criteria set up by the NSG.Speaking to ANI in Seoul, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Qun asserted that India’s membership has ‘never ever’ been on the agenda of the NSG and that there is no such agenda item for the two-day plenary, adding that there is no point of China opposing or supporting India as well as the membership of other countries. “One thing is clear that India?s membership has never ever been taken up as an agenda item. In the two plenary sessions, there was no extraordinary session on this matter. There is no such agenda matter. In the caveat there could be observations and interventions but that’s all,” he said.Earlier, highly placed sources told ANI that China is not the sole opponent to India’s member ship to the NSG, but Brazil, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and New Zealand too have opposed India’s entry, citing it’s not being a signatory of the NPT for nuclear weapons and weapons technology. Meanwhile, on a day on mixed developments for India Canada and Braxil have extended their complete support to New Delhi.According to sources, Brazil today supported India’s bid but called for a common criteria for all non-NPT states. Brazil also said that India has by far a better nuclear proliferation record than Pakistan However, in a complete shocker, Switzerland, who had earlier extended its complete support, has now opposed New Delhi?s bid citing it being a non NPT state. This comes as a jolt for India as earlier, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi?s visit to Switzerland, the European nation had extended its complete support.

NSG indicates no exception will be made in the case of India

At the end of its two-day plenary here, the NSG on Friday declared its “firm support” for the “full, complete and effective” implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime, a clear indication that no exception will be made in the case of India.The statement by the 48-nation grouping, however, said that it will continue to have discussions on participation of countries which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Confirming that the India’s application was discussed during the two-day deliberations, the statement, under a sub-heading ‘Outreach’, said it shared information on all aspects of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.”Participating Governments reiterated their firm support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime,” it said.The NSG had discussions on the issue of ‘Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG’ and decided to continue its discussion, the statement said.A special meeting last night had discussed India’s application where China and a number of other countries opposed its entry into NSG saying it was not a signatory of the NPT.The members also expressed concerns regarding continued global proliferation activities and reaffirmed its determination to continue to cooperate closely in order to deter, hinder and prevent the transfer of controlled items or technology that could contribute to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. In the NSG plenary, chaired by Ambassador Song Young-wan of South Korea, the participating governments also called upon all states to exercise vigilance and to ensure effective implementation of all United Nations Security Council Resolutions relevant to the work and purposes of the NSG.The NSG decided that Switzerland will assume the Chairmanship of the NSG from 2017 to 2018 and will host the next plenary.The NSG also welcomed the growing number of states that have harmonised their national export control systems with the NSG guidelines and control lists. It also discussed options for enhancing outreach such as dedicated briefings for and meetings with interested non-NSG partners on the work of the group.It also decided to have a dedicated response to non-NSG partners seeking assistance and practical experience in developing, updating, strengthening and implementing national export control systems.

US desires to see India’s NSG application be considered

The US desires to see India’s application for NSG membership be considered seriously even as its bid to enter the 48-nation grouping has hit a roadblock reportedly due to Chinese opposition.”We have made clear our desire to see India’s application be seriously considered,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.NSG members are scheduled to continue their meeting in Seoul today wherein countries supporting India’s application are expected to raise it again.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US, Kirby said, has consistently supported and raised India’s membership to the NSG before its other 47 member countries.”We have made very clear our support of their application, and I have no reason to suspect that it was not discussed at this meeting. But what was discussed in the room and where they came down, I just do not know.”I will see what we can do to find out for you, but I do not know how complete an answer I am going to be able to give you,” Kirby added.China “belligerently” led opposition to India’s membership of NSG at a three-hour post-dinner meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group here last night which ended in a deadlock.Preceding the two-day plenary of the 48-member NSG, which began yesterday, China had repeatedly said that India’s membership was not on the agenda and is said to have made every effort to prevent any discussion on India’s bid.Indian official sources said that China was joined by Austria, Ireland and Brazil among other countries which questioned as to how a country like India which had not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can be admitted to the grouping.

Live: Big setback to India’s NSG dream as multiple countries oppose induction

In a massive setback to India, China along with three other countries on Thursday including Brazil, Austria and New Zealand opposed India’s induction into NSG citing India being a non NPT state. The plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) began in Seoul 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.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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. ​With agency inputs19:50 IST Thursday, 23 June 201619:52 IST Thursday, 23 June 2016 Ireland and Turkey opposed India’s induction into NSG citing India being non NPT state.19:52 IST Thursday, 23 June 2016Mexico backed India’s induction into NSG

Why India wants to be in the NSG: 10 things you need to know

There is a lot of anticipation about the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary session that is taking place in Seoul on Thursday and Friday. But what exactly is the NSG and why is it crucial for India to be a member of this group? Prime Minister Narendra Modi has convinced several members, including US, Mexico and Switzerland, to allow India on board but with China yet to accept India’s inclusion and Pakistan’s outright protest against it, the plenary session of 23 and 24 June takes on significant meaning.

Here’s a primer:

1. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) states on its website that it is “a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.” The guidelines includes a principle that states that transfer of nuclear technology will be authorised only on the condition that such a deal will not lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. That’s why all the member states of the NSG are signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The NSG guidelines also complement several other international treaties related to nuclear non-proliferation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Mexico is supporting India's bid for NSG membership. ReutersPrime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Mexico is supporting India's bid for NSG membership. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Mexico is supporting India’s bid for NSG membership. Reuters

2. India is not a member of the NPT. It is a point that China has consistently raised while trying to block India’s membership to the NSG. However, China is supporting Pakistan’s membership. Pakistan too has not signed the NPT.

3. NSG was set up in response to India’s own clandestine nuclear test in 1974, which made New Delhi something of a pariah in the West. Joining the club requires the unanimous approval of all 48 members.

4. Analysts say joining the NSG is chiefly a matter of pride and desire to be taken seriously by some of the world’s most powerful nations. Since prompting international technology sanctions and limits on exports by conducting nuclear tests in 1998, India has been eager to gain legitimacy as a nuclear power.

5. Joining the NSG will give India better access to low-cost, clean nuclear energy — important for its economic growth. Nuclear power is one way India, the third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, could cut its emissions and reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants.

6. As Jaideep Prabhu points out in this Firstpost article, NSG membership would put India on a firmer footing to propose the idea of plutonium trade for its thorium programme that has been waiting in the wings. An early adoption of thorium technology would give India enormous energy independence and security.

7. PM Modi is so keen on the NSG membership that he set up a meet with China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent on Thursday. It is the same day when the NSG plenary session in Seoul begins, a meeting in which India’s membership application is expected to come up. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is in Seoul to closely monitor the NSG meet.

8. The US has openly supported India’s membership to the NSG and even urged other members to do so. “We believe, and this has been US policy for some time, that India is ready for membership and the United States calls on participating governments to support India’s application at the plenary session of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. Among others who have publicly backed India’s bid to NSG are Mexico, France, Switzerland, Russia, Japan, UK and Canada.

9. Other than China, countries that are opposing India’s inclusion in the NSG are Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand.

10. While considering India’s membership application, the NSG will also have to consider the fact that accepting this application can pose problems on the processing of applications from Pakistan and Israel, both of whom have not signed the NPT.

With inputs from agencies

Opposition to India’s NSG bid not to hit bilateral ties: China

China on Thursday sought to de-link it’s opposition to India’s membership of NSG from Sino-Indian ties saying that it does not concern the bilateral relationship.China-India bilateral relations have maintained “sound momentum” and the issue of India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) does not concern bilateral ties, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Tashkent.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”President Xi is going to meet Prime Minister Modi in Tashkent. We believe that series of exchanges of visits will deepen our strategic consensus, strategic mutual trust and future development of bilateral relationship,” Hua told media briefing here.On the state of bilateral ties, she said, “we have repeatedly made positive comments on development ties between India and China . Both are emerging markets that are acquiring more and more significant role in the international affairs,” she said.The bilateral relations have maintained sound momentum of growth, thanks to the mutual visits of the leaders by the two countries, she said.”We have agreed that we would make joint efforts to develop closely knit relationship. Recently President of India Pranab Mukherjee also paid a successful visit to China,” she said.On whether India, China differences over India’s admission into the NSG would effect relations, Hua said, “on the NSG issue, we have been expounding on our position on this issue.We believe that with regard to the admission of new members a decision shall be made with through discussion within the group”.”We do not believe that it is an issue concerning the bilateral relationship between China and India,” she said. Xi and Modi are due to meet on the sidelines of the SCO meet in Tashkent today where he was expected to seek China s support for India’s membership in the NSG. China is calling for consensus among the 48-member group about the admission of countries which have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Both India and Pakistan, which have applied for NSG membership, have not signed the NPT. While India’s case is pushed by the US, China is backing Pakistan.Meanwhile, as the NSG kicked off key meeting in Seoul today, China’s official media continued its tirade against India’s bid for membership in the grouping with an article defending China’s opposition and attempting to equate Indian and Pakistan nuclear programmes.The article written by a senior fellow and director of the Proliferation Prevention Program at Centre for Strategic & International Studies published in state run Global Times says India’s bid to enter NSG is aimed at legitimising its nuclear weapons status.”The costs and benefits of Pakistani membership are similar to those of India’s, except that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan tarnished Pakistan’s record considerably when he sold centrifuge technology to Iraq, Iran and Libya , the article by Sharon Squassoni says.It was the fourth article in the last one week carried by the daily to oppose India’s admission into the NSG. The previous three articles were written by Chinese state run think tanks.

France extends support as India lobbies hard for NSG entry; PM Modi to meet Xi Jinping in Tashkent

From Uzbekistan to South Korea, India has launched a diplomatic blitzkrieg to clinch the membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which is going down to the wire in the face of strong opposition by China and some other countries. While China leading the opposition, demands ‘criteria’ based approach for the entry of non-NPT nations, India has boiled down asking countries to consider ‘merit’ and its “past record of non-proliferation’. The criteria, according to Indian diplomats, was already decided by the NSG, when it granted New Delhi a waiver in 2008.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will test his diplomatic skills at the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent on Thursday evening, when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who was initially supposed to fly with PM was asked to straight head to Seoul. Senior external affairs ministry official Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of ‘Disarmament & International Security’ division, is already in Seoul over past few days to “garner” support as well as “explain” India’s case. While confirming Jaishankar’s flight to Seoul, where the NSG plenary is scheduled on Friday, the ministry of external affairs here has sealed lips , awaiting the outcome of foreign secretary’s behind-the-scenes meetings with movers and shakers. Official sources, here even cautioned the media as well not to jump to any conclusions as this was a delicate and complex process. “At this point, let us not speculate,” sources pleaded to media. A positive headway on Wednesday was that after the US, France came out openly strongly backing India’s s case, saying it will bolster global efforts against nuclear proliferation. A statement issued by the French Foreign Office asked the member states to take a “positive decision” in the Seoul plenary meeting. “France considers that India’s entry into the four multilateral export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, The Australia Group, The Wassenaar Arrangement) will bolster international efforts for combating proliferation,” the statement said. While Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand have also reservations to grant membership to India without signing the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), China’s opposition has been more strident. India has asserting that in the past France was also granted membership of the NSG, without being an NPT state. Also, there has been no change in India’s record, when it was granted a waiver by the same grouping in 2008.The membership of NSG will enable India to trade in and export nuclear material and technology, making the nuclear business in the country more predictable, to avoid a repeat of a situation, when the US had abruptly stopped fuel supply to Tarapur Atomic Power Stations (TAPS) 1 and 2, in 70;s despite a tripartite agreement with India and the IAEA. The access to the NSG, is expected to help India’s ambitious energy generation programme that involves 63,000 MW energy through nuclear programme by 2030.China said it will play a “constructive” role in the discussions on India’s bid for membership, but maintained that the issue was not on the agenda in Seoul. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that NSG members had three rounds of unofficial discussions on the entry of India and Pakistan into the grouping. “China hopes to discuss further this issue and will play a constructive role in the discussions,” she said, adding the plenary meeting is only to deliberate on the entry of members who signed the NPT. “As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its meeting agenda. Based on what we have at hand, the agenda of this year’s Seoul Plenary Meeting circulated by the Chair does not include this issue either,” she said.Meanwhile, Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua has alleged that America’s efforts to include India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group was part of a “greater design” to contain China and prevent the resurgence of Russia. He then listed “contain China, prevent the resurgence of Russia and keep the Muslim world in a controlled chaos” as some of the leading trends in the current global power politics, Pakistani newspaper Express Tribune reported. Pakistan’s former permanent representative at the UN in Geneva Zamir Akram said that Pakistan was only opposed to “exclusive membership” of the NSG for India.Against China absolving Pakistan government from proliferation, putting blame rouge scientist A Q Khan, a sources based report from the US, suggested that Islamabad was still selling nuclear materials to North Korea. The report and its timing appears aimed to blunt Pakistan’s chances to seek parity with India.

PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet on sidelines of SCO summit in Tashkent

President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent beginning tomorrow during which India is expected to seek China’s support for membership of the NSG.”We will release relevant information in due course,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday.The spokesperson said the two leaders would be meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit in the capital city of Uzbekistan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his meeting with Xi, Modi is expected to seek China’s support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which Beijing is keen on blocking. Hua, however, refuted perception that China is blocking India’s entry into the NSG.”With regard to India’s entry into NSG, I would like correct that the word China blocking India’s membership is not proper,” she said.”The word blocking is not proper. In the NSG agenda we have never seen the topic of non-NPT countries entry. So it does not make sense to say we block the entry,” she said.”As all of us can see all the countries are concerned about this issue and various issues relating to non-NPT countries entry into the NSG has been discussed through friends of chair presided over by the Chair of the NSG,” she said.”We hope that relevant discussion will keep going and Chinese side will take constructive part in the discussion,” she said.

FS S Jaishankar leaves for Seoul to push for India’s NSG membership

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday headed for Seoul ahead of the crucial NSG Plenary from tomorrow, where India is hoping to clinch membership which is strongly opposed by China and some other countries.Jaishankhar, who was closely monitoring the goings-on during the officials’ level meet of the 48-nation grouping which started on Monday, left for the South Korean capital to lobby with members to boost India’s prospects of getting membership.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior External Affairs Ministry Official Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of ‘Disarmament & International Security’ division, is already in Seoul to “garner” support as well as “explain” India’s case, sources said. However, China continues to stonewall India’s bid for NSG membership with the members divided over the entry of a non-NPT signatory country like India.The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid. While majority of the elite group members backed India’s membership, it is understood that apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.China maintains opposition to India’s entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for its close ally Pakistan’s entry if NSG extends any exemption for India. India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France. 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.

India pins NSG hopes on Modi-Xi meeting on Thursday

Half-a-century after a peace agreement in the Uzbekistan capital of Tashkent ended the India-Pakistan war, the central Asian city will again witness a crucial diplomatic exercise over the next 48 hours.Prime Minister Narendra Modi will try to prevail over the Chinese leadership to support India’s bid for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) there now.Modi will attend the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Tashkent, where he is likely to have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, a day ahead of the NSG plenary meeting at Seoul.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plenary will lay out the criteria for allowing new members into the elite club. Officials here are, however, keeping their fingers crossed, saying success is not guaranteed. At the same time, they said it should not be interpreted as a foreign policy failure. “If India sees an opportunity, she should be prepared to seize it, even if there are risks,” they said. On Sunday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told the media that she was hopeful India would become a member. She said China was not against letting India in.Even as the US once again made a strong pitch for India’s inclusion into the elite club, China, on Tuesday, justified its objections and defended Pakistan’s nuclear record, asserting that it deserves the same consideration as India.
ALSO READ ‘Successful efforts’ made against India’s NSG bid, claims Sartaj Aziz “We did not target any country — India or Pakistan. We only care about the non-proliferation treaty (NPT),” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying. She reiterated that admission of new members was not on the agenda of the Seoul meeting. She said that NSG members should stay focussed on whether the criteria should be changed and whether non-NPT members should be admitted to the NSG.Foreign secretary S Jaishankar is likely to travel to Seoul to supervise India’s diplomatic efforts for the NSG membership. Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of the disarmament and international security division, is already in Seoul to “garner” support.
ALSO READ Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar may travel to Seoul to push for India’s NSG membershipOver the past weeks, India has been deliberately soft-pedalling China and avoiding touching its raw nerves. There was no mention of the South China Sea in the last India-US joint statement and no reference to “freedom of navigation” in Swaraj’s press conference.Further, India is not also raking up the proliferation record of Pakistan, clarifying that it does not object to any country joining the NSG on merit.
ALSO READ Door open for discussions on India’s NSG bid: ChinaIn an unusual move, China’s state media on Tuesday made a direct case for Pakistan’s inclusion in the NSG. “China and other countries are opposed to NSG including India while excluding Pakistan, because it means solving India’s problem but creating another bigger problem. If India joins hands with Pakistan to seek NSG membership, it seems more pragmatic than joining alone,” said the article in Global Times, titled ‘China no barrier to India joining NSG’.“If the US is sincere about supporting India’s membership, it should not just cast its eyes on India’s nuclear market. It should solve India’s ‘nuclear status’ first, so as to eradicate the contradictions between India and the existing international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism,” it said.Over the past few days, the US has launched a campaign to get India into the NSG, with both president Barack Obama and secretary of state John Kerry requesting all 48 members to fall in line. Swaraj has personally spoken to 23 foreign ministers

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar may travel to Seoul to push for India’s NSG membership

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar may travel to Seoul to push for India’s bid for NSG membership at the plenary of the 48-nation grouping on June 23-24.According to government sources, the Foreign Secretary is watching the situation “very closely” and, depending on the “feedback” from the official-level meeting of NSG ahead of the crucial plenary on Thursday and Friday in the South Korean capital, he may travel to Seoul to give a “final push”. The official-level session of NSG started on Monday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With China leading the opposition against India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG), New Delhi is in a diplomatic overdrive to reach out to countries to support its bid.Senior External Affairs Ministry Official Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of ‘Disarmament & International Security’ division, is already in Seoul to “garner” support as well as “explain” India’s case, sources said.The main meeting of the NSG Plenary on June 24 will happen a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Tashkent for Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, which is also being attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping.Modi may meet Xi on the sidelines of the SCO summit and raise the issue of India’s NSG membership but whether the discussions pave the way for a seat for New Delhi at the nuclear high table is a moot point.China has been opposed to India’s entry into NSG on the ground that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for entry of its close ally Pakistan, also not a signatory to NPT, if India were to be inducted into the elite grouping.India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG, citing the precedent of France. India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology.The membership of NSG, which regulates global trade in nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for energy-starved India, which has an ambitious energy generation programme. India has set for itself an ambitious target of generating 63,000 MW of nuclear energy 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.

Not targetting India or Pak, we care about Non-Proliferation Treaty: China on NSG membership

A day after China said that India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is not part of the agenda at the annual plenary in Seoul, it asserted that discussions are on among members over India’s entry into the elite club.”China said that discussions are on among NSG members over admission of India and other non-NPT countries,” reported PTI.Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “We did not target any country, India or Pakistan. We only care about non-proliferation treaty.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the non-proliferation regime is changed how can we explain the Iranian nuclear treaty,” she added.Despite Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar visiting Beijing a few days back, China had on Monday said that the inclusion of non-NPT members was never a topic on the agenda of NPT meetings. “In Seoul this year, there is no such topic.”
ALSO READ NSG membership: PM Modi to meet Xi Jinping on June 23 to win support for India’s bidPrime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday (June 23) in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent in an attempt to win Beijing’s support for India’s membership to the NSG.Meanwhile, China’s state media on Tuesday defended Pakistan’s nuclear record, saying it was AQ Khan who was responsible for atomic proliferation, which was not backed by the government and argued that any exemption to India for NSG entry should also be given to Pakistan.
ALSO READ Pak NSG bid: Pakistan only hurdle to Indian ‘hegemony’ in South Asia, says Sartaj Aziz India has been vying to join the 48-nation group, and has reportedly secured support from the United States, Russia, Britain, France and other world powers recently.China, however, stands as an obstacle to India’s application, arguing that it would enhance a nuclear competition in South Asia by isolating Pakistan. China wants the NSG to admit Pakistan as well, pointing out that both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and had not signed the NPT.
ALSO READ Any exemption to India for NSG entry must also apply to Pakistan, says ChinaThe NSG is one of the main tools for controlling the exports and proliferation of materials that could potentially be used in making weapons of mass destruction. It also tracks the black market trade of nuclear technologies.

India’s NSG membership not on agenda at Seoul meet, says China

Despite Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar visiting Beijing a few days back, China has said that India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is not part of the agenda at the annual plenary which begins in Seoul on June 24.According to a Hindustan Times report, Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that opinion within the member countries was divided, not only on India’s inclusion, but on the inclusion of all non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Further adding that the NPT was the ‘cornerstone’ for non-proliferation and that China thinks more detailed discussions are required on the issue, Hua added, “The inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NPT meetings. In Seoul this year, there is no such topic.”
ALSO READ #dnaEdit | The American connection: Why US is so keen on India’s NSG berth The development comes a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that China is not opposing India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) but only talking about the criteria and procedures. Swaraj was also hopeful that India would be able to convince China to support entry into the NSG. She had also asserted that India would not oppose entry of any nation to the NSG, adding that their application should be considered on merit basis. India has been vying to join the 48-nation group, and has reportedly secured support from the United States, Russia, Britain, France and other world powers recently.
ALSO READ Cameron calls PM Modi, assures him of UK’s ‘firm support’ to India’s NSG bid China, however, stands as an obstacle to India’s application, arguing that it would enhance a nuclear competition in South Asia by isolating Pakistan. China wants the NSG to admit Pakistan as well, pointing out that both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and had not signed the NPT.The NSG is one of the main tools for controlling the exports and proliferation of materials that could potentially be used in making weapons of mass destruction. It also tracks the black market trade of nuclear technologies.

Foreign Secy Jaishankar makes unannounced visit to China as Putin voices support for India’s NSG entry

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made an unannounced visit to Beijing on 16-17 June to enlist support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which is being opposed by China. Jaishankar’s visit came a week ahead of the plenary meeting of the 48-nation atomic trading bloc scheduled to be held in Seoul on 24 June where India’s membership is likely to be discussed.

“Yes, I can confirm Foreign Secretary visited Beijing on 16-17 June for bilateral consultations with his Chinese counterpart. All major issues, including India’s NSG membership, were discussed,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Sunday.

China has been strongly opposing India’s membership at the premier club, arguing that it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Meanwhile, Russian President, according to India Today, has said that he is positive about finding a solution to the objections raised by China against India’s application for NSG membership. Russia is one of the key supporters of India. Speaking to India Today, Putin said, “Russia has been cooperating with India on all nuclear issues but only within the limits of the international law. We believe that India with its huge population, has economic problems and lot of energy challenges apart from national security issues. And therefore, India cannot be put in the same league as other countries. While we must act within the international law, we must look at all the opportunities to ensure, provide and support India’s interests.”

When asked whether Russia had any discussions with Beijing on India’s inclusion as a member-country in the NSG club, Putin said that there are no secrets and the decision will be taken after consulting all the members.

Foreign secretary S Jaiashankar. Image courtesy: MEA website

Foreign secretary S Jaiashankar. Image courtesy: MEA website

Interestingly, an op-ed in the Global Times (14 June) titled ‘India mustn’t let nuclear ambitions blind itself’ gravely noted: “Beijing insists that a prerequisite of New Delhi’s entry is that must be a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, (NPT) while India is not. Despite acknowledging this legal and systematic requirement, the Indian media called China’s stance obstructionist.” This brief comment is the first semi-official articulation of China on the NSG and predictably obfuscates the issue.

In making this assertion about the NPT, Beijing is being characteristically innovative and artful in how it first distorts and then presents various facts specific to the nuclear domain. Having based its objection to India’s admission to the NSG on the charge that India is a non-signatory to the NPT , the op-ed (and by extension Beijing) glosses over the fact that there is a precedent which could be cited to advance the Indian case.

Apart from the NPT rhetoric, China has also encouraged Pakistan to apply for NSG membership so as to link New Delhi’s entry with that of Islamabad’s, knowing well that there will be few takers for Pakistan’s case. India has been trying to join the group since 2008, which essentially would give it a place at the high table where the rules of nuclear commerce are decided. India, as part of the NSG, would also mean its ability to sell equipment. Many countries, like Australia, that initially opposed its entry have changed stance and Mexico and Switzerland are the latest to voice their support. Russia too joined in. India’s membership in the group will be the final step of nation’s inclusion in ‘nuclear global order’.

Earlier this week, China’s official media said India’s NSG membership would “jeopardise” China’s national interests besides touching a ‘raw nerve’ in Pakistan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had said a week back that members of the NSG “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and called for “full discussions”.

India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its membership of the bloc whose members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. The US has backed India and asked various NSG members to support New Delhi’s bid.

The NSG was conceived in November 1975 as a response to India’s peaceful nuclear explosion of May 1974 and the original seven participating governments (not members) were Britain, Canada, France, Japan, the Soviet Union, the United States and West Germany. At the time, France was not a signatory to the NPT though it was a nuclear weapons state but was part of the NSG. And, for the record, Paris formally acceded to the NPT only in August 1992.

The NSG operates as an informal group that has certain guidelines. The participating governments have identified five factors for those nations seeking to join the group. Being a signatory to the NPT is one of the factors and may be desirable but, as the example of France has demonstrated, it is no bar to admission.

It is understood that a number of countries including Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG. India had managed to secure support of NSG members Switzerland and Mexico during Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s recent visit to these two countries as part of a five-nation tour. Mexico and Switzerland were known to have strong nuclear proliferation concerns and were not in favour of allowing NSG membership to countries which were not signatory to NPT.

The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid. India’s access to the NSG, a body that regulates the global trade of nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for India’s domestic nuclear energy programme.

India has been campaigning for membership of the bloc for last few years and had formally moved its application on 12 May. The NSG had granted an exclusive waiver to India in 2008 to access civil nuclear technology after China reluctantly backed India’s case based on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

With inputs from PTI and IANS

Cameron calls PM Modi, assures him of UK’s ‘firm support’ to India’s NSG bid

British Premier David Cameron has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the UK’s “firm support” for India’s NSG membership bid, a boost to the country ahead of the nuclear trading club’s crucial meeting next week.Cameron confirmed Britain’s backing for India’s membership of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in a telephone call to Modi on Friday. A Downing Street spokesperson said, “The Prime Minister spoke to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about India’s application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a group of nuclear supplier countries that works together to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK would firmly support India’s application. They agreed that in order for the bid to be successful it would be important for India to continue to strengthen its non-proliferation credentials, including by reinforcing the separation between civil and military nuclear activity,” the spokesperson said. The two leaders also took stock of UK-India ties in their telephonic conversation.”They agreed that the UK-India relationship was going from strength to strength, including through the recent visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and wife Kate),” the spokesperson said. India’s case for NSG membership is also being strongly pushed by the US, which has written to other members to support India’s bid at the plenary meeting of the group expected to be held in Seoul on June 24. While majority of the elite group backed India’s membership, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria were opposed to India’s admission.China maintains opposition to India’s entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China wants NSG membership for its close ally Pakistan if NSG extends any exemption for India.India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.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.India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its entry. The NSG works under the principle of consensus and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.

India ‘inching closer’ to NSG membership; entry will shake strategic balance in South Asia: Chinese State media

Acknowledging that India is “inching closer” to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Chinese official media on Thursday said if New Delhi is admitted into the elite grouping, “nuclear balance” between India and Pakistan will be broken.Stating that India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will “shake strategic balance in South Asia and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region”, an article in the state-run ‘Global Times’ however said China could support India’s inclusion in the 48 member nuclear club if it “played by rules”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Written by Fu Xiaoqiang research fellow with the state-run think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, the article a second in as many days by the same daily highlights China’s strident and vocal opposition to India’s entry into NSG and concerns that its all weather ally Pakistan will be left behind because “entry into the NSG will make it (India) a ‘legitimate nuclear power’.” “New Delhi seems to have inched closer to NSG membership after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gained backing from the US, Swiss and Mexico in its bid to join the elite nuclear club earlier this month,” the article said mentioning for the first time India’s progress in getting support from Mexico and Switzerland. “Becoming a member of the NSG, a bloc that governs civilian nuclear trade worldwide, will grant India global acceptance as a legitimate nuclear power,” said the article titled “Beijing could support India’s NSG accession path if it plays by rules”.A commentary in the same daily on June 14 had said that India’s admission into NSG would “jeopardise” China’s national interest and touch a “raw nerve” in Pakistan. “If it joins the group, New Delhi will be able to import civilian nuclear technology and fuels from the international market more conveniently, while saving its domestic nuclear materials for military use,” said the article in the Global Times, a tabloid daily which is part of the ruling Communist Party of China group of publications headed by People’s Daily.”The major goal for India’s NSG ambition is to obtain an edge over Islamabad in nuclear capabilities. Once New Delhi gets the membership first, the nuclear balance between India and Pakistan will be broken,” it said.”As a result, Pakistan’s strategic interests will be threatened, which will in turn shake the strategic balance in South Asia, and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region,” it said.The reason why India has scored a big win in garnering support for its NSG membership from some countries is because Washington has started to treat New Delhi as part of the US alliance, the write-up said. “It was only several years ago that Modi could not even get a US visa, but now he has visited the US more often than any other country during his two years in office,” it said.The US recognised New Delhi as a “major defence partner” during Modi’s recent visit, meaning that the White House has given India the treatment as a US military ally, it said. The article said that over the years, the US has been “bending the rules” to back India’s nuclear projects.”Against the backdrop of Washington’s accelerated pace of promoting its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it will be highly likely to keep supporting New Delhi’s nuclear ambitions, in order to make it a stronger power to contain China,” it said. The attitude of the US has had and will undoubtedly have an impact on some other nations. For those countries which also wish to put a finger in the pie of India’s market, many of them begin to back India’s NSG membership, or at least not oppose it, the article said in apparent reference to majority of the countries in the NSG supporting India’s entry.”However, as a country that has signed neither the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), India is not yet qualified for accession into the NSG,” it said.”That’s why the bloc is still divided over the case, and countries including New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria have expressed their firm objections to India’s membership,” it said.The article made no mention of problems faced by Pakistan in getting into the NSG due to its past record of proliferating the nuclear technology to Iran and North Korea, where as India is seeking entry into group based on clean non-proliferation record.”As a crucial defender of the international system against nuclear proliferation, China does not wish to see the political and legal foundation of global nuclear security to be challenged by any party who does not abide by rules,” the article said without referring to Beijing’s own nuclear power cooperation with Islamabad in supplying a number of nuclear reactors, including two 1100 mw reactors currently under construction in Karachi.”For those countries that are developing nuclear technology without the acceptance of the international community, perhaps counting them into the non-proliferation mechanism will better safeguard nuclear security,” it said.But at the same the article said China backs India’s entry if a fair and just principle is worked out through consensus.”Yet before that, a fair and just principle must be made through common consensus of all current members of the NSG, rather than the US and India’s reckless pushing at the cost of rule-breaking”.”So far, all NSG members have signed the NPT. So the question is, if any non-signatory of the treaty wants to join the group, under what condition can it be accepted? If such a standard is to be made one day, then it will be possible for both India and Pakistan to become part of the group,” it said.”Beijing welcomes New Delhi playing a role as a major power in global governance, including producing positive effect in a nuclear non-proliferation organisation,” it said.”As long as all NSG members reach a consensus over how a non-NPT member could join the NSG and India promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while sticking to its policy of independence and self-reliance, China could support New Delhi’s path toward the club,” it said.

PM Modi ‘misleading’ country on NSG membership: Anand Sharma

Congress on Monday demanded that the Narendra Modi government apologise for ‘misleading’ the country that making India a member was on the agenda of the just concluded meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at Vienna.”Government must apologise to the nation for telling the country that India’s membership was on the agenda of the NSG. It was not on the agenda”, party’s senior spokesman Anand Sharma told reporters claiming that there was “no discussion” on the issue at the meeting. Sending the signal that progress on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation was started by the Congress-led UPA, he recalled that the 123 Agreement was signed by the then External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at the government, he said while there has not been any discussion on the issue at the NSG meeting, they say that “the film is ready”. Sharma said MTCR is still a “work in progress.” He said that opposition from “northern neighbour” is still there. Yesterday, a report from Beijing had it that notwithstanding a US push for India’s NSG membership, members of the elite club “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and insisted that there “was no deliberation” on the bid by India and other nations at the Vienna meeting.”There was no deliberation on any items related to the accession to the NSG by India or any other countries that are not signatories to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT),” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei had said in a statement while referring to the Vienna meeting that took place last week. He had said the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Chair Argentine Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi convened an unofficial meeting of the 48-member group on June 9.”India must get the Membership of the NSG but please Shri Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – you are less and inadequately informed, on these matters, please do not mislead the people by continuously making false and tall claims about your achievements,” he said. Targeting the Prime Minister, Sharma said the just concluded National Executive meeting of the BJP in Allahabad, saw Modi “characteristically indulging in self-praise and attacking the Opposition for being anti-Development”.Insisting that the Congress has cooperated with the Government in the passage of important legislation, he said the government should refrain from giving advice to the opposition. Tearing apart the claims of boost to the economy, he challenged the Prime Minister to release the list of all youth from tehsil to the state level who have got jobs in the last two years. “The BJP promised 2 crore jobs a year. In 2 years, we were supposed to have 4 crore jobs. But, they managed a mere 1.4 lakh jobs”, he claimed.

More talks needed to discuss India’s NSG membership: China

Even after strong backing from the United States, the UK and France, India might have to wait for the entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), with China on Sunday explicitly stating that more talks were needed to build consensus to allow new countries to join the elite nuclear grouping. Now all eyes are set on the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), scheduled to be held in Tashkent on June 23 and 24, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have an opportunity to interact with the Chinese top political leadership. The SCO at this summit will witness its first expansion since its establishment 15 years by admitting India and Pakistan. The US President, Barack Obama, and Modi will also have another opportunity on September 4-5 to convince Chinese leadership on the sidelines of G-20 Summit at Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province on China’s southeastern coast.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China is leading opposition to the US move to include India in NSG, though some other countries like New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Austria have also voiced their opposition. “Large differences remain over the issue of non-NPT countries joining the NSG,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an online statement. Diplomats here said that India is already enjoying most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear deal with the US. “With regard to what to do on the issue of non-NPT signatories joining (the NSG), China consistently supports having ample discussion on this to seek consensus and agreement and come to a unanimous decision,” Hong said. “The NPT is the political and legal basis for the entire international non-proliferation system,” Hong said, adding that China would support the group in further talks to come to a consensus at an early date.Opponents argue that granting India membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation. It would also infuriate Pakistan, which responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own and has the backing of its close ally China. A day after PM Modi’s Washington visit, Pakistan PM’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaz Aziz told a high-level US delegation comprising ambassador Richard Olson, US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Peter Lavoy, senior adviser and director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security that maintaining effective nuclear deterrence is critical for Pakistan’s security. “Our second requirement was that the US should take our security interests into consideration, because if their (US) growing relationship with India upsets the regional balance in South Asia, we would not be able to take this strategic relationship much further,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman explicitly cautioned.The NSG was created in the aftermath of India’s 1974 nuclear test to deny it access to nuclear technology. Its membership will also allow India, supply of uranium, therefore helping a shift to nuclear power from current dependence on fossil fuel. An NSG summit is scheduled forJune 23-24 in Seoul, where the crucial decision will be taken.Former diplomat and disarmament expert Rak­esh Sood says, since 2008, when US lobby had granted India a waiver from the NSG, the situation was now different. The difference is while Pakistan is also in the scene, having applied to be a member, China, also has made its position clear.

NSG membership: India’s bid to be deliberated upon in next plenary in Seoul later this month

India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is expected to be deliberated upon by the atomic trading club at its plenary later this month in Seoul as a meeting in Vienna on India’s bid remained inconclusive.Though the US was strongly pushing India’s case and most member countries supported it, it was China which opposed it arguing that the NSG should not relax specific criteria for new applicants. The NSG controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A number of countries, which were initially opposed to India’s bid on the ground that it was yet to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), eased their positions and were ready to work out a compromise. However, China stuck to its position.
ALSO READ NSG membership: Most members positive to India’s bid, China still playing spoilerIn the meeting, China did not openly oppose India’s membership directly but linked it to signing of NPT.The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle India’s bid.
ALSO READ NSG membership: Pakistan steps up diplomatic efforts, reaches out to Mexico, Italy seeking supportBesides China, the member countries in the 48-nation group which were opposed to India’s membership were New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria.Sources here said chair of the NSG has taken note of views expressed by member countries and will list the matter for further discussion at NSG plenary scheduled to be held in Seoul on June 24.
ALSO READ NSG membership: China continues to oppose India’s bid as 48-nation club meet in ViennaIt is understood India was hopeful of getting support from China as it had supported India’s case in 2008 when India got a waiver from the NSG to allow US’ nuclear trade with India.India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.Mexico yesterday backed India’s NSG bid during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi there. The Mexican support followed that of the US and Switzerland. Japan too has expressed its support for India’s inclusion in the grouping.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.The US has been pushing for India’s membership.Ahead of the meeting here, US Secretary of State John Kerry had written a letter to the NSG member countries which are not supportive of India’s bid, saying they should “agree not to block consensus on Indian admission”.A joint statement issued after talks between Modi and Obama said the US called on NSG participating governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary later this month.

Resistance to India joining nuclear suppliers group softens, but China defiant

A US-led push for India to join a club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology made some headway on Thursday as several opponents appeared more willing to work towards a compromise, but China remained defiant.The 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group 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.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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 (NPT), the main global arms control pact.
ALSO READ NSG membership: China continues to oppose India’s bid as 48-nation club meet in ViennaBut 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, softened their stance somewhat, opening the door to a process under which non-NPT states such as India might join, diplomats said.
ALSO READ India secures another country’s backing in its bid to become member of NSG: Mexico!”There’s movement, including towards a process, but we’d have to see what that process would look like,” one diplomat said after the closed-door talks on Thursday aimed at preparing for an annual NSG plenary meeting in Seoul later this month.Opponents argue that granting India membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation. It would also infuriate India’s rival Pakistan, an ally of China’s, which has responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own.
ALSO READ India plans expanded missile export drive, with China on its mindPakistan joining would be unacceptable to many, given its track record. The father of its nuclear weapons programme ran an illicit network for years that sold nuclear secrets to countries including North Korea and Iran.”By bringing India on board, it’s a slap in the face of the entire non-proliferation regime,” a diplomatic source from a country resisting India’s bid said on condition of anonymity.Washington has been pressuring hold-outs, and Thursday’s meeting was a chance to see how strong opposition is.US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote to members asking them “not to block consensus on Indian admission to the NSG” in a letter seen by Reuters and dated Friday.Most of the hold-outs argue that if India is to be admitted, it should be under criteria that apply equally to all states rather than under a “tailor-made” solution for a U.S. ally.Mexico’s president said on Wednesday his country now backs India’s membership bid. One Vienna-based diplomat said it had softened its stance but still opposed the idea of India joining under conditions that did not apply equally to all.

When India and China can agree on CWC, then why not on NSG?

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi successfully convinces the global community during his foreign visits that India should be allowed into the Nuclear Supply Group (NSG), given the country’s impeccable nonproliferation record and nuclear know how, China is doing its best to deny India the exalted status.

India applied for NSG membership on 12 May, 2016, and the fate of the application will be known when the extraordinary plenary meeting of the NSG is held on 9 and 10 June. The United States, Russia and other major powers support India’s contention. Switzerland, which was against the Indian bid, has now agreed to support – a major diplomatic victory that Modi scored in Geneva on 5 June.

President Pranab Mukherjee meets China's Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. File photo ReutersPresident Pranab Mukherjee meets China's Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. File photo Reuters

President Pranab Mukherjee meets China’s Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. File photo Reuters

The NSG comprised 48 nuclear supplier states that have voluntarily agreed to coordinate their export controls governing transfers of civilian nuclear material and nuclear-related equipment and technology to non-nuclear-weapon states. It aims at averting nuclear exports for commercial and peaceful purposes from being used to make nuclear weapons. Its members are expected to forgo nuclear trade with governments that do not subject themselves to international measures and inspections designed to provide confidence that their nuclear imports are not used to develop nuclear arms.

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to talk to Ambassador Rafael M Grossi, chairman of the NSG, during his visit to Delhi. Underscoring the importance of the NSG, he told me that global demand for clean nuclear energy is growing, notwithstanding what the critics may say (China has or proposes to have 30 Nuclear Power Plants (NPP). India wants to have eight or 10 of them. Bangladesh is building one. NPPs are under construction in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and East Europe. And here, one is not talking of the already well established NPPs in the developed world). Hence, there is going to be more and more nuclear trade – fuel, machineries and technologies. And here comes the importance of non-proliferation and transparency. The NSG tries to ensure transparency in nuclear trade. The NSG guidelines require that importing states provide assurances to NSG members that proposed deals will not contribute to the creation of nuclear weapons. Potential recipients are also expected to have physical security measures in place to prevent theft or unauthorised use of their imports and to promise that nuclear materials and information will not be transferred to a third party without the explicit permission of the original exporter.

In addition, final destinations for any transfer must have International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in place. The IAEA is charged with verifying that non-nuclear-weapon states are not illicitly pursuing nuclear weapons. IAEA safeguards are to prevent nuclear material or technology from being stolen or misappropriated for weapons include inspections, remote monitoring, seals, and other measures.

The guidelines comprised two parts, each of which was created in response to a significant proliferation event that highlighted shortcomings in the then-existing export control systems. Part I lists materials and technology designed specifically for nuclear use. These include fissile materials, nuclear reactors and equipment, and reprocessing and enrichment equipment. Part II identifies dual-use goods, which are non-nuclear items with legitimate civilian applications that can also be used to develop weapons. Machine tools and lasers are two types of dual-use goods.

In sum, Grossi told me, “The mandate of the NSG is to produce, export, import nuclear material and equipment; exchange information on export and import policies; prevent misuse or abuse of legitimate trade of nuclear goods for hostile use and offer technological expertise to countries seeking its assistance.”

Once a country is admitted as a member of the NSG, what benefits do accrue to it? Does it make access to technology, equipment and material easier? Does each transfer have to be approved by the NSG? Grossi’s answers were, “In today’s world, no country operates in isolation. Nuclear industry is a big industry and you must have international cooperation as well as the needed mechanisms. Here, the membership of the NSG helps in providing comforts both to the nuclear supplier and recipient. Once admitted, a NSG member (1) gets timely information on nuclear matters, (2) contributes by way of information, (3) has confirmed credentials, (4) can act as an instrument of harmonisation and coordination , and (5) is part of a very transparent process with regard to the material, equipment and technology. These advantages cannot be quantified, but these generate a very positive atmosphere.”

However, the NSG chairman made it clear that not each transfer of information related to the nuclear field has to be approved by the NSG. “The NSG is not a supra-national authority. It is only a mechanism for exchange of information; it provides a forum for consultation,” he said.

Importantly, Grossi was evasive on India’s prospects for joining the NSG. “India’s membership quest is a work in process. India is important. No member in NSG is against India. India is far more advanced in nuclear energy than many NSG members. You just cannot ignore India. India is a key nuclear power that has focused on developing its nuclear energy for use in the agriculture sector, in the field of medicine, in the development of its nuclear plants. It has an excellent reputation, an indisputable role, which will be much more in the future. The globalisation of India’s nuclear programme is something to be welcomed.

“But then, ultimately, it (decision on India’s membership) is going to be a political decision. The NSG functions on the premise of compatibility and consensus through established guidelines. If I were to talk about how India could contribute to strengthening the NSG, I would say, in a very general statement, that all countries active in the nuclear field have something to contribute. Nobody denies this fact. The important thing is to fine tune the process; where consensus can be achieved, to do it in a fair, concise and transparent manner.”

However, Grossi was hopeful that there would be a consensus on India. And he had a point when he said, “My role as the chairman of the NSG is to facilitate the process of consensus on India’s membership. As it is, without being a member of the NSG and without being a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), India has already got some concessions from the IAEA in 2008 on nuclear trade. So in India’s case, we are no longer very orthodox and legalistic. My responsibility, therefore, is to tell everybody where we can meet half-way. I am playing the role of an honest broker on the question of India’s membership. In fact, my experience in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) tells me that we can find a consensus on India. If in CWC India, Pakistan and China could agree, it is not impossible to see India joining the NSG.”

I will like to emphasise the particular sentence of the NSG chairman – “So in India’s case, we are no longer very orthodox and legalistic.” But this is precisely what China is being, when it talks of blocking India on the grounds that it is not a member of the NPT. Even legalistically, China does not make any sense when it says that membership of the NPT is a prerequisite for NSG membership. When the NSG was set up in 1974, France, then a non-signatory to the NPT, became a member. Japan had not ratified the NPT when it became a member of the NSG. Neither had Argentina and Brazil.

The truth is that the Chinese objection to India’s membership in NSG is essentially political. Despite all its talks on the desirability of a multipolar world, China will never tolerate India emerging as one of these poles. In Beijing’s multipolar world, there is only one Asian pole, and that is China. For China, India is part of the “strategic periphery” which China has historically sought to weaken, control, or diplomatically manipulate. Pakistan is a pawn in this Chinese diplomatic game. There are, thus, obvious limitations to the “Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers)” idea. And they constitute the biggest challenge to Modi in the realms of foreign policy.

NSG: Swiss says a big Yes, but China wall ahead

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi scored a diplomatic victory on Monday, by managing to win the crucial support of Switzerland for India’s entry into the elite 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chinese wall still stands in India’s way in clinching NSG membership.Modi, who held bilateral talks with Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann ahead of his crucial Washington visit, also got a commitment on black money stashed in Swiss banks. The PM said that both countries will start early talks on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information to combat the menace of black money.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Swiss support is significant, considering that it – along with other North European countries – has been fiercely opposing entry of those countries which have not signed the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) into the nuclear trading club. The tiny country in the middle of Europe is part of 12 nuclear and disarmament related clubs, which include the UN Disarmament Commission and NPT.The nuclear club countries are meeting on June 9 in Vienna and June 23 in Seoul to discuss India’s membership. Experts here believe that India’s diplomatic efforts may convince several NSG members like Switzerland to back its membership, but China is equally determined to put roadblocks, unless Pakistan is also given entry into the grouping, despite its poor proliferation record.Chinese opposition will come up at discussions between Modi and President Barack Obama on Tuesday, when they will discuss India’s route to the NSG. Modi, who is visiting a series of countries currently, added Mexico and Switzerland to his itinerary because both had expressed reservations about India being included in the NSG. Modi also expressed India’s readiness to resume free trade agreement (FTA) talks with EFTA – the grouping of Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The talks stand stalled on a host of issues like Intellectual Property Rights and data safety. The negotiations for the Free Trade Association were launched in 2008.In Washington, President Obama – whom Modi is meeting for the seventh time since he assumed office on Tuesday – will have his work cut out. He needs to find a way out to neutralise Chinese opposition to India’s entry into the NSG. He will also have to make up his mind for formal signing of the key logistics agreement that would enable the US to refuel and repair vehicles at Indian ports and bases. The two countries have now agreed “in principle” to the deal, but the final draft has not been signed. Two other agreements – one that would provide access for India to US’ advanced radio and satellite communications systems, and the second that would provide exchange of geospatial data for military and civilian use – are also pending. India had long been reluctant to sign the logistics agreement because of fears it would obligate India to support a US role in future military conflicts.”There are certain apprehensions in our minds because of past experience,” said Alok Bansal, director of the Center for Security and Strategy at the India Foundation in Delhi. On Wednesday, Modi would address a joint meeting of the US Congress, the first foreign leader to do so this year.

India’s admission into NSG may figure in China-US talks

Amid deepening divisions over the disputed South China Sea, China and US will hold their high level annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue during which a host of issues including differences over India’s entry into the NSG are expected to be discussed.Billed as the most comprehensive dialogue between the world’s two largest economies, it will be attended by top officials from both sides, including US Secretary of State John Kerry.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While South China Sea (SCS) issue which has now become a major flash point between the two countries is expected to dominate the two-day talks, a host of other issues including Taiwan, Tibet and India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are also expected to figure.While the US has expressed its firm backing to India’s inclusion into the 48-member nuclear club building on the India-US nuclear accord, China has been insisting that there should be consensus among the members about inclusion of countries who have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.India has not signed the NPT on the ground that it is discriminatory.Officials here are hopeful of a solution as China-US dialogue is taking place ahead of two of NSG’s key plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul during which the issue is expected to come up.As India pressed its case, Pakistan too has applied amid reports that China is trying to push the case of its all-weather ally.India itself has taken up this issue with top Chinese leadership as part of high profile diplomacy, specially during last month’s President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit here.However, China last night said that differences still prevailed among the NSG members about non-NPT members.”Discussion within the NSG is still going on about the accession of non-NPT countries, and NSG members remain divided on this issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry told PTI.Still sticking to its stand that that new members should sign the NPT, the Ministry said “the NSG is part and parcel of the international non-proliferation regime”.About the Pakistan application which China is reportedly backing, the Ministry said “China has noted Pakistan’s official application for NSG membership. Pakistan is not a party state to the NPT.”Ahead of the US-China dialogue, Chinese officials said besides the SCS, China will bring up topics related to its major concerns, including the Taiwan question, Tibet and maritime security.The two countries have differing pursuits on major issues at the strategic level.However, the two still have many common interests, official media here quoted Chinese officials as saying.

President Mukherjee arrives in China: Masood Azhar, India’s NSG membership on agenda

Guangzhou: President Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Guangzhou on Tuesday on a four-day visit to China that will see
significant political and economic push to bilateral ties while irritants like Beijing’s opposition to India’s membership of NSG and the blocking of UN bid to blacklist JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist will also figure.

Mukherjee, who is making his first visit to China as President, has made a number of trips to this country in various capacities including as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and Defence Minister.

In Guangzhou, the highly industrialised city in China, Mukherjee will address the India-China Business Forum in which some top Indian industrialists will also be present.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTIPresident Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province in southern coastal China that contributes 12 per cent of the country’s GDP and is home to a wide-ranging set of multinational and Chinese corporations.

The President will arrive in Beijing on Thursday where he will meet with President Xi Jinping and other top Chinese leadership including Premier Li Keqiang and National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang.

In discussions with the Chinese leadership, the issues of Chinese reservations on India’s membership in the Nuclear Supplier Group and the UN ban on Azhar are expected to figure prominently.

Bilateral ties have been on an upswing since Xi’s landmark India visit in September, 2014 during which both countries had signed 12 agreements and China pledged an investment of USD 20 billion in India’s infrastructure sector.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited China in May last year during which both sides had resolved to further deepen ties in a range of areas.

However, irritants in ties cropped recently after China blocked India’s move to get a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Azhar and opposed granting India membership of NSG, saying it must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to get an entry into the 48-member group.

India had countered the Chinese contention of signing NPT before becoming a member of NSG as “confusion” as NPT allows civil nuclear cooperation with non-NPT countries.

Ahead of his state visit to China, Mukherjee had told the Chinese state-run television that India seeks a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question which will help in achieving full potential of Sino-India relationship.

“We seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement of the boundary question and, pending the boundary settlement, to maintain peace and tranquillity in border areas. Both sides should strive to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed in a manner that demonstrates mutual sensitivity to each other’s concerns, interests and aspirations,” he had said last week.

He had also said China joining hands with India in the fight against terrorism will have “its own impact,” indicating that the two countries must comer together to deal with the challenge.

The comments came against the backdrop of Beijing blocking India’s bid to put Azhar on the UN list of proscribed terrorists.

Mukherjee is accompanied By Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar four Members of Parliament and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.

Pakistan applies to join Nuclear Suppliers Group club | Reuters

ISLAMABAD Pakistan has made a formal application to join a club of nuclear trading nations, the foreign ministry said on Friday, a move likely to lead to a showdown in the group which has also been facing calls to induct India as a member.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.

Pakistan’s application will add to long-running tensions with India. The two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since being split amid violence at the end of British colonial rule in 1947. Diplomats quietly launched a new push last year to induct India into the club last year.

“Pakistan has the expertise, manpower, infrastructure, as well as the ability to supply NSG controlled items, goods and services for a full range of nuclear applications for peaceful uses,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement announcing its formal application.

The campaign for India’s membership is viewed as carrying the risk of antagonising Pakistan as well as its ally China, which could veto any application by India.

China could also insist, as a condition of India’s membership, that Pakistan also be allowed to join, a potential hard sell due to Islamabad’s development of new tactical nuclear weapons.

“Pakistan has stressed the need for NSG to adopt a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of the countries that have never been party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” Pakistan’s foreign ministry added.

Neither India nor Pakistan has signed the NPT, generally seen as a prerequisite to NSG membership.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Pakistan last October to avoid developments in its nuclear weapons programme that could increase risks and instability.

Washington has been concerned about Pakistan’s development of new nuclear weapons systems, including small tactical nuclear weapons, and has been trying to persuade Islamabad to make a unilateral declaration of “restraint”.

Pakistan said on Thursday it was “seriously concerned” about recent missile tests by India and said it could respond by upgrading its defences.

The NSG, which was created in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974, is expected to hold its next meeting in June.

(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic and Syed Raza Hassan; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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