India & the NSG

The US circulated a “nonpaper” on India’s membership at the NSG plenary meeting held in Seattle on June 22. The most controversial part of the paper is that being an NPT signatory not be seen as a “condition” for NSG membership. The “food-for-thought” paper took forward its suggestion for India’s membership that the US had circulated at the last plenary in Noordwijk last year. 
With the US at the helm of the NSG this year, India feels its chances of securing a membership of the non-proliferation quartet — NSG, Wasse
naar Arrangement, Australia Group and MTCR — are better than ever before. A statement issued at the end of the plenary said the NSG “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.” But a consensus continues to elude the group. 
India has done a bit of lobbying with other NSG mem
bers as well. Foreign minister S M Krishna met his Canadian counterpart recently to discuss the issue, while sources said some countries had watered down their objections. China remains an outlier when it comes to India’s own membership, and New Delhi wants Beijing to get off the bench. Be that as it may, India is pushing hard on entering the non-proliferation groups. 
In a recent speech at IDSA, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai had said India has the capabilities of being a nuclear supplier and it would be in the interest of the four regimes to have India within the tent. That, many feel, is a more powerful argument at the non-proliferation high table.

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