US says India ready to enter NSG

India has decided to take more time on formally seeking membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG).

New Delhi remains cautious on the issue even as US President Barack Obama recently acknowledged that New Delhi had now completed the process of aligning its export control mechanism with the requirement of the 49-nation cartel that controls global nuclear commerce.

Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington earlier this week saw the US publicly accepting for the first time that India was ready to be a member of the NSG.

According to the joint statement issued after the Modi-Obama meeting at the White House, the US president affirmed that India was “ready for membership in the NSG”. He also noted that India met the requirement to be a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) too.

He supported India’s “early application and eventual membership in all the four” multilateral export control regimes – NSG, MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement, added the joint statement issued early on Wednesday.

The NSG guidelines prohibit its members from entering into nuke ties with the countries that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Neither India nor Pakistan has signed the NPT. Washington, however, helped New Delhi secure a waiver from the NSG in 2008.

The waiver cleared the hurdle for the US-India nuclear cooperation. During a visit to New Delhi in 2010, Obama announced America’s willingness to support India’s full membership in the NSG and three other multilateral export control regimes in a phased manner.

Obama’s announcement during his meeting with Modi on Tuesday is significant as it reflected US acknowledgement that India had now completed the process of bringing its export control mechanism in line with the NSG requirement. 

Sources, however, told Deccan Herald that India would formally apply for membership of the NSG only after ensuring that it had enough support within the bloc to foil attempts by certain countries to scuttle its bid.

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