US Senator praises NSG after India fails to get membership


The NSG on Friday ended its plenary meeting in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership.

A US Senator has praised the NSG for deciding against granting India membership of the grouping immediately, hours after the elite group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in the face of strong China-led opposition.

“Today, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) reaffirmed its strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by refraining from admitting India,” Junior Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Edward Markey said in a statement.

The NSG was founded in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test and it has worked for decades to prevent the sharing of technology that could contribute to the further spread of nuclear weapons, he said on Friday.

Read more: China rejects bending rule for India to join NSG

“Applicant countries must be signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT),” Wang Qun, the head of arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying in Seoul on Thursday night.

“This is a pillar, not something that China set. It is universally recognised by the international community,” Wang said according to a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday. China is leading the opposition to a push by the United States to bring India into the NSG. The issue of India’s membership was not formally discussed at the NSG meeting this week, Wang said on Friday.

Wang stressed China considered it is important to handle new memberships under a consensus and that there was no move yet to allow a non-NPT state to join.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, PM Narendra Modi delivered a candid message to Chinese President Xi Jinping who he met for a bilateral discussion on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Tashkent. Sources said Modi conveyed to Xi New Delhi’s expectation that China would support India in its NSG membership bid, a position that suggests that continued opposition will impact ties.

“The NSG plenary in Seoul earlier in the day decided against granting India membership of the grouping immediately and said it will continue to have discussions on the participation of countries which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Friday.

China, which had made no secret of its opposition, succeeded in scuttling India’s bid despite a significant majority backing the Indian case. Thirty-eight countries supported India, according to Indian officials.

Read more: Six countries against India’s NSG membership