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China hopeful of better ties with India in 2017, says committed to dissolve outstanding differences

Beijing: 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 told PTI 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.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

She 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.

“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 31 December, 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 AQ 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”.

First Published On : Dec 29, 2016 14:50 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.

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!)

China not against India’s entry in NSG: Envoy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Friday sought to dispel the view that it was against India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”The notion that China is against India’s entry into NSG is not right. India and China are working together in this regard,” Consul General of China in Kolkata, Zhanwu Ma said. “Entry of any country into the Nuclear Suppliers Group needs certain procedures which are to be followed. It is not that simple,” Ma told reporters here.Asked about China’s stand on Indo-Pak relations, he said his country was neutral. “China is very friendly towards India. Some people do not seem to believe so. Of course, we have differences. But the shared interests outweigh the differences,” the Chinese Consul General said, adding the business relations between the two countries were mutually beneficial.”So far India’s relation with Pakistan is concerned, China’s position is neutral. India and Pakistan should settle the impasse via negotiations only,” he added.

India’s NSG membership will affect regional stability, says Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Voicing its concern over India’s nuclear capabilities, Pakistan called on the member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to make a well-considered decision over including India, keeping in view the long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in the region”This build-up has been facilitated by the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia,” said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya at a weekly press briefing, reports the Dawn.Pakistan has been asserting that India’s rapidly expanding military nuclear programme poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond.The FO spokesman warned that another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption. “It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region,” he said.

New Zealand PM arrives in Delhi, to hold talks with PM Modi tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks on Wednesday with his New Zealand counterpart John Key, who arrived on a three-day India visit on Tuesday, during which he is likely to seek Wellington’s support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).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 atomic 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.Ahead of Key’s visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India will tell New Zealand it had “all the credentials” to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that it would strengthen the NPT regime. “We believe that we have all the credentials to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and we hope that at the end of the day the 48 member grouping will see the logic of India’s entry because it will only strengthen the global non- proliferation regime,” Swarup had said.Key, who was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on Monday, cancelled that leg of his tour, due to a technical problem in his aircraft.Apart from Delhi, where Key will hold extensive talks with PM Modi on key bilateral issues and call on President Pranab Mukherjee, besides attending a business summit, he will also travel to Kochi on Thursday. In Kochi, he and his delegation will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand company, Glidepath.Key will be accompanied by members of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP. He had last visited India in 2011.

US backs India, slams Pakistan for linking Afghan peace to Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supporting India’s “right to self-defence” in the aftermath of the Uri attack which it dubbed a clear case of cross-border terrorism”, the US today dismissed the recent attempt by Pakistan to link peace in war-torn Afghanistan with resolution of the Kashmir issue.The White House backed India’s right to defend itself as with any other country, in view of the recent surgical strike but advised caution given the heavy militarisation between the two neighbours.It also said that that the US is making every effort to ensure that India become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by the end of this year.Making a rare appearance before a Washington audience, Peter Lavoy, the White House’s point person for South Asia, said that India-US ties are the “most dynamic relationship” for the US as he listed the Obama administration’s achievements in strengthening the relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.”It (Uri) was a clear case of cross-border terrorism. We condemned this act of terrorism. It was a horrific attack. Every country has a right to self defence. But in a heavily militarised relationship that has also experienced three wars, there is indeed a need for caution and restraint,” he said responding to a question on the Uri attack.”We share with India, the concern for preventing any future attack. We empathise with the Indian position that it needs to respond militarily to cross-border threat of terrorism. But we also advise caution,” Lavoy said.India and Pakistan have a “friction-filled relationship” and they have not found a way to overcome that, he said.Last week, Lavoy met the two special envoys of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Kashmir.The two Pakistani envoys in their public meetings had linked peace in Afghanistan to resolving the Kashmir issue.”We certainly do not believe that the situation in Afghanistan is linked with Kashmir,” the top White House official said.Lavoy said the US is making every effort to ensure that India becomes a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group by the end of this year.”In 2016 India ought to join the NSG,” he said and referred to the commitment made by the US in this regard. India becoming a member of NSG, he argued would exhibit New Delhi’s new leadership in non-proliferation.”Every effort is being made to ensure India ought to join NSG this year,” Lavoy said to a question.

Member who blocked India’s entry into NSG must be held accountable, says US

A week after India failed to get entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) due to China-led opposition, the US today said one country can break consensus in the atomic trading bloc and insisted that such member should be held accountable.US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon asserted that the US is committed to ensuring India’s entry into the NSG while expressing “regret” that Washington was unsuccessful in making India a member of the bloc in its pleanary in Seoul last week.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We understand that in a consensus-based organisation, one country can break consensus. But in order to do so it must be (held) accountable not isolated.”I think what we need to do going forward is, for both of us India and the US, sit down and take a call what happened in the Seoul, take a close look at the diplomatic process which is significant and see what more we can do and how we can ensure that next time we are successful,” he said during an interactive session at the Foreign Service Institute.Calling India an “anchor of stability” in the Asia Pacifc region, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon also said what China was doing in South China Sea is “madness” and it wants New Delhi to play a major role in the Indian Ocean.Shannon said managing the rise of China was a major challenge and that the US wants to work with India to have a strong and comprehensive presence in the Indian Ocean.Describing India a responsible and important player in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation, Shannon said, “We are committed to having India join the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We believe that through the kind of work we have done, the civil nuclear agreement, the way India conducted itself, it is worthy of this.”On India’s NSG bid, he said the US would continue to work for India’s inclusion in the group.Shannon, who met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar earlier in the day, said India’s recent entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) highlighted that the country is a “responsible and important player in the road to non- proliferation.””We regret, in Seoul we and India, were unable to open space necessary to allow India to move into the NSG at this moment,” he said.When asked whether he thinks India will ratify the Paris climate deal before Obama administration’s tenure got over and, at the same time, it will become a member of the NSG, he said “I hope so”.He said India has given a commitment to ratify the climate deal.Shannon said that Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation was a very important symbol of friendship between the two countries.”Just a few weeks ago, President Obama and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi welcomed the start of preparatory work on a site in Andhra Pradesh for six AP 1000 reactors to be built by an American company.”This is expected to provide jobs in both countries and bring clean, reliable electricity that will help meet India s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

Member who blocked India’s entry into NSG will be held accountable: US

New Delhi: A week after India failed to get entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) due to China-led opposition, the US on Wednesday said one country can break consensus in the atomic trading bloc and insisted that such member should be held accountable.

US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon asserted that the US is committed to ensuring India’s entry into the NSG while expressing “regret” that Washington was unsuccessful in making India a member of the bloc in its pleanary in Seoul last week.

Representational image. News 18

Representational image. News 18

“We understand that in a consensus-based organisation, one country can break consensus. But in order to do so it must be (held) accountable not isolated.

“I think what we need to do going forward is, for both of us India and the US, sit down and take a call what happened in the Seoul, take a close look at the diplomatic process which is significant and see what more we can do and how we can ensure that next time we are successful,” he said during an interactive session at the Foreign Service Institute.

Calling India an “anchor of stability” in the Asia Pacifc region, US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon also said what China was doing in South China Sea is “madness” and it wants New Delhi to play a major role in the Indian Ocean.

Shannon said managing the rise of China was a major challenge and that the US wants to work with India to have a strong and comprehensive presence in the Indian Ocean.

Describing India a responsible and important player in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation, Shannon said, “We are committed to having India join the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We believe that through the kind of work we have done, the civil nuclear agreement, the way India conducted itself, it is worthy of this.”

On India’s NSG bid, he said the US would continue to work for India’s inclusion in the group.

Shannon, who met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar earlier in the day, said India’s recent entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) highlighted that the country is a “responsible and important player in the road to non-proliferation.”

“We regret, in Seoul we and India, were unable to open space necessary to allow India to move into the NSG at this moment,” he said.

When asked whether he thinks India will ratify the Paris climate deal before Obama administration’s tenure got over and, at the same time, it will become a member of the NSG, he said “I hope so”.

He said India has given a commitment to ratify the climate deal.

Shannon said that Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation was a very important symbol of friendship between the two countries.

“Just a few weeks ago, President Obama and Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi welcomed the start of preparatory work on a site in Andhra Pradesh for six AP 1000 reactors to be built by an American company.

“This is expected to provide jobs in both countries and bring clean, reliable electricity that will help meet India’s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” he said.

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

Nuclear Suppliers Group plenary: Little movement since 2008 ‘relationship with India’ talks

The United States on Monday asked the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to consider and support India’s application to join the grouping during their plenary meeting in Seoul beginning on Tuesday.

This came a day after China’s statement that India’s inclusion into the group was not even on the agenda of the group’s meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been actively pushing this issue with other countries.

During his five nation tour, he secured Switzerland’s promise to support India’s application for its entry into the NSG.

Representational image of nuclear power plant. Getty images

Representational image of nuclear power plant. Getty Images

“Switzerland welcomes an Indian contribution to the non-proliferation of nuclear arms,” said the President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann.

During his trip to Mexico, he secured the country’s support for the same as well. “Mexico recognises India’s bid to be part of the NSG. As a country, we are going to be positively and constructively supporting India’s request in recognition of the commitment by Prime Minister Modi to the international agenda of disarmament and non proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron too assured Modi of UK’s “firm support” for India’s NSG membership.

While the plenary meeting in Seoul will decide the fate of the country, let’s look at the progress made since 2008 when India’s application was considered for the first time.

According to its public statement, the Nuclear Suppliers Group met in Vienna on 21 and 22 August to discuss civil nuclear cooperation with India. The participating countries agreed to continue their deliberations.

The International Atomic Energy Agency released the “Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India” adopted by the NSG.

According to this, the participating governments had taken note of India’s efforts and voluntary steps taken in the direction of becoming a member of NSG. It further said, “With a view to intensification of dialogue and cooperation with India, the Chairman is requested to confer and consult with India….”

The NSG plenary meeting 2009 hosted in Budapest too said that the “plenary addressed the regular reporting and consultation requirements under the group’s 6 September 2008 Statement on civil nuclear cooperation with India, bearing in mind India’s voluntary commitments and actions.”

The public statement released after the 2010 NSG meeting held in Christchurch said “The Group continued to consider the implementation of the Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India. It noted actions taken to adhere to the NSG guidelines and the voluntary commitments made by India.”

Interestingly, the 2011 meeting in Noordwijk too considered “all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.”

There appeared to be very little movement in the following years:

2012, Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary, Seattle: continued to consider all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.

2013, Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary, Prague: Continued to consider all aspects of the implementation of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.

2014, Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary, Buenos Aires: Shared information on all aspects of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.

2015, Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary, Bariloche: Shared information on all aspects of the 2008 Statement on Civil Nuclear Cooperation with India and discussed the NSG relationship with India.

Considering that the only development has been deliberations and more deliberations, it remains to be seen if the Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary, 2016 in Seoul will end in the same manner.

Or will Modi’s international outreach finally see India becoming a member of the NSG?

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.

250 Chinese troops briefly entered Arunachal Pradesh four days ago

In yet another incident of Chinese incursion, about 250 China’s Peoples Liberation Army soldiers entered Arunachal Pradesh’s east district of Kameng four days ago, defence sources said on Monday. The “temporary transgression” by the Chinese patrolling party happened in Yangste, East kameng district on June 9, they said. However, the soldiers went back within hours, they added. Significantly, the Chinese crossing-over happened at a time when Beijing had hardened its opposition against India’s bid for membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is the first known transgression by the Chinese army this year in the region, which China claims is part of its territory. The Chinese troops spent about three hours on this side of the border before going back to their territory, the sources said.

Modi In US: Obama backs India’s NSG bid, vows to be with India in fight against Pak-based terror

President Barack Obama has backed India’s bid for membership of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amid a major push to the strategic ties between the two countries which finalised a “roadmap” to give India the status of US’ close partner in the defence sector.Obama, who held over hour-long talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, also promised to cooperate with India against terrorist threats from groups such as Pakistan-based Jaish-e Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba as well as ‘D’ Company, a reference to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In this context, they (the two leaders) directed their officials to identify specific new areas of collaboration at the next meeting of US India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group,” said a Joint Statement issued after the talks.Significantly, the American side also committed itself to treating Pathankot attack at par with 26/11 terror strike in terms of ensuring punishment to perpetrators based in Pakistan.The two countries also decided to start work on construction of six American nuclear reactors in India amid affirmation that the Liability issue has been addressed.Six pacts, including one on exchange of screening of terror information, besides two other documents were signed after the talks that mainly covered issues like terrorism, clean energy, climate change, defence, regional security, cyber security, economic ties and people-to-people contacts.Addressing the media jointly with Modi at his Oval office, Obama said it was natural for India and the US, two biggest democracies, to “deepen and broaden” partnership.Progress made in the Civil Nuclear agreement was among the issues discussed, Obama said.”I indicated support to India being a part of NSG,” the US President said in remarks which assume significance since China is opposing such a move.Obama underlined that India needs technology, which is critical for its progress and prosperity.The 50-point Joint Statement said, “President Obama welcomed India’s application to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and re-affirmed that India is ready for membership. The United States called on NSG Participating Governments to support India’s application when it comes up at the NSG Plenary later this month.”The United States also re-affirmed its support for India’s early membership of the Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement.”Modi later said, “I am ever thankful for the help and support that my friend President Obama has extended with regard to membership in MTCR and NSG.”

India should open talks with Pakistan and China to push for NSG’s membership: NYT

India should meet the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s standards and open talks with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons if it wants to push its case for membership in the 48-nation elite group, a leading US daily said on Sunday.In a lead editorial ‘The New York Times’ said that America should press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India’s application for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is slated for discussion later this month.”Obama is lobbying for India to win membership through a special exception,” ‘The Times’ editorial board said, ahead of the US visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will meet with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday.”If he succeeds, India would be in a position to keep Pakistan, which has also applied for membership, from gaining membership because group decisions must be unanimous,” the editorial said, adding that this could give Pakistan, which at one time provided nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran, new incentives to misbehave.Opposition from China, which is close to Pakistan and views India as a rival, could doom India’s bid for now, it said, adding that the issue, however, will not go away.India is growing in importance and seeking greater integration into organisations that govern international affairs, it said.”If it wants recognition as a nuclear weapons state, it should be required to meet the nuclear group’s standards, including opening negotiations with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons and halting the production of nuclear fuel for bombs,” the editorial said.The report alleged that for years the US had sought to bend the rules for India’s nuclear programme to maintain India’s cooperation on trade and to counter China’s growing influence.”As part of the 2008 deal, the Indians promised they would be ‘ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices’ as other nations with advanced nuclear technology.”But they have fallen far short by continuing to produce fissile material and to expand their nuclear arsenal,” alleged the editorial board of the newspaper.The NSG governs trade in nuclear-related exports and aims to ensure that civilian trade in nuclear materials is not diverted for military uses.

Australia-India civil nuclear deal concluded, supply to start soon

New Delhi: Australia said on Wednesday, as it has concluded the nuclear agreement with India, the supply of uranium will begin in a short period of time.

Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said that concluding contracts and supply can take some time but active engagement is underway on supplying uranium to India.

“I am hopeful that we will see contracts concluded and supply start in a relatively short span of time,” she said at a ICRIER seminar on trade liberalisation in New Delhi.

The Australia-India nuclear cooperation agreement permits Australian companies to commence commercial uranium exports to India.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) with his PM Modi during the signing of agreements ceremony in New Delhi. File Photo. ReutersAustralia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) with his PM Modi during the signing of agreements ceremony in New Delhi. File Photo. Reuters

Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L) with his PM Modi during the signing of agreements ceremony in New Delhi. File Photo. Reuters

Australia has about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of yellow cake annually.

India and Australia began talks on the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2012 after it lifted a long-standing ban on selling uranium to energy-starved India.

India, which has nuclear energy contributing just 3 per cent of its electricity generation, will be the first country to buy Australian uranium without being a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

When asked Australia’s stand on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), she said that her government is “very very supportive” of India’s entry into NSG.

“We very much want to see India enter, engage and to make the contribution in the group,” she added.

India has been eyeing to get entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group

U.S. official says India has addressed nuclear concerns | Reuters

WASHINGTON A U.S. State Department official assured lawmakers on Tuesday that India has addressed concerns over liability that had for years kept U.S. corporations from signing nuclear power contracts in the country.

“We believe that the steps that India has taken have addressed by and large the key concerns that have been in place,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

She also said the United States supported India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-member group of nuclear trading nations.

India wants to increase its nuclear energy capacity dramatically as part of a broader push to move away from fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the dangerous effects of climate change.

India was shut out of the nuclear trade for decades because of its weapons program. A 2008 agreement with the United States gave it access to foreign suppliers without giving up arms primarily meant as a deterrent against nuclear-armed China.

But hopes that U.S. nuclear reactor manufacturers would get billions of dollars of new business evaporated after India adopted a law in 2010 giving the state-run Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) the right to seek damages from suppliers in the event of an accident.

Biswal declined to say that all U.S. companies would now be comfortable doing business in India. “Those are going to be individual determinations that companies are going to have to make,” she said.

Some companies are moving into the market. The chief executive of Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse Electric said in March he expected to sign a deal in June to build six nuclear reactors in India.

Senator Edward Markey questioned Biswal on whether India had met the requirements to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.

Diplomats quietly launched a new push last year to induct India into the group, which would carry the risk of antagonizing Pakistan as well as its ally, China. Beijing could veto any application by India.

Biswal said the United States backs India.

“We believe that India has complied with, and is consistent with, the requirements of the NSG and therefore should be considered for membership,” she said.

(Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

NSG membership: China rebuts India’s stand on France

China on Monday rebutted India’s assertion that France was included in the Nuclear Suppliers Group without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying France was a founder member of the elite group and so the issue of accepting its membership does not arise.Ahead of President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, China also called for “in-depth” talks to build consensus over India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), days after Pakistan staked claim to join the 48-member grouping with purported backing from Beijing.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying sounded firm about China’s stance that all new members that join the NSG must sign Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Hua rebutted India’s assertion that France was included in the elite group without signing the NPT.”When France joined the NSG it was not a party to the NPT: France was the founder member of the NSG so the issue of acceptance to the NSG does not exist”, Hua said responding to Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vikas Swarup’s comment last week.”The NSG is an ad hoc export control regime and France, which was not an NPT member for some time, was a member of the NSG since it respected NSG’s objectives,” Swarup had said on May 20, rejecting China’s oft-repeated assertion that India should sign the NPT to join the NSG.”The NSG is an important component of the non- proliferation regime is founded on the NPT. This is a long term consensus of the international community which was reaffirmed last year by the NPT review convention,” Hua said.That is why the NSG has been taking NPT signatory status must status for new members, Hua said. The issue was expected to figure in the talks during President Mukherjee’s visit to China from tomorrow. Mukherjee would arrive in Chinese city of Guangzhou and later arrive here on May 25 during which he is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese leaders including his counterpart Xi Jinping.

Despite China and Pakistan’s objections, US ready to welcome India into elite nuclear club

Amid reports that China and Pakistan are jointly opposing India’s bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, the US has said India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for entry into the exclusive club.”I’d point you back to what the president said during his visit to India in 2015, where he reaffirmed that the US view was that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for NSG membership,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>His remarks came in response to a question on reports that China and Pakistan have joined hands to oppose India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “I’m going to refer you to the governments of China and Pakistan with respect to their positions on India’s membership,” Kirby said.”Deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group are an internal matter among current members,” he said. Defending its move to block India’s entry into the NSG, China today claimed that several members of the 48-nation bloc shared its view that signing of the NPT was an “important” standard for the NSG’s expansion.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said in Beijing that not only China but also a lot of other NSG members are of the view that Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone for safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.Asked about reports that China is pushing Pakistan’s entry into NSG linking it to India’s admission into the bloc, Lu said the NSG is an important part of NPT, which has been the consensus of the international community for long.Although India is not part of the NSG, Indian side recognises this consensus, he claimed.India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan were the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.Last month, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said China has helped Pakistan to stall India’s bid to get NSG membership.