Earlier this week, a Chinese official had been quoted in the media as saying that their stand vis-a-vis India had not changed since Seoul. 

Indias inclusion in NSG remains in limbo China continues to be stumbling block
news NSG Membership Saturday, June 24, 2017 - 08:22

A meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has ended in the Swiss capital city of Bern with no movement forward on India’s request to join the 48-member country group that controls and seeks to police international nuclear trade. 

In a statement released late Friday evening at the end of the plenary session, the group said it “…it 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.” There is no mention of Pakistan in the statement suggesting that India’s diplomatic efforts may be succeeding. It was widely believed the the entry of both countries would be jointly considered. 

It is unclear at the time of writing if this is the result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reported overture with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of their Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana. Since the last NSG meeting in South Korea last year many countries had made statements to the effect that the entry of India and Pakistan to the NSG would be considered simultaneously. Both countries are not signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is a pre-requisite to enter the NSG. 

The NSG may convene for an informal session in November.

The NSG was set up in 1974 following India’s peaceful nuclear test in Pokharan. New Delhi has consistently refused to sign the NPT maintaining that it is discriminatory in nature and that India needs its hands totally free when it comes to defending its national interests. In the run up to the meeting in Bern, diplomats told The News Minute (TNM) that ground realities were very different now than when they met in the South Korean capital Seoul, where New Delhi had made a much more public effort to enter the club. In her opening statement, the President of the Swiss Confederation Ms. Doris Leuthard renewed the Alpine nation’s commitment to work of the group at a time when the principle of nuclear non-proliferation continued to be at the centre of international stability. She highlighted the “…central role of the NSG in international efforts against the spread of nuclear weapons and its contribution to the international nuclear non-proliferation architecture with the (NPT) at its centre.

The 48 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. A key area of focus for the NSG countries has been to strengthen cooperation between themselves with a view to deterring, hindering and preventing the transfer of controlled items including technology that could contribute to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

China is the main stumbling block in India’s way though not the only one and NSG watchers say there are other hold out countries as well which use Beijing as a shield. Earlier this week, a Chinese official had been quoted in the media as saying that their stand vis-a-vis India had not changed since Seoul. 

Mexico has been elected as the next Chair of the NSG. 

Read the full statement here

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