In an apparent snub to Pakistan over its opposition to India's bid to become a member of the elite NSG, the US has said it is not about an arms race, but about peaceful use of nuclear energy.
"This is not about an arms race and it's not about nuclear weapons. This is about the peaceful civil use of nuclear energy, and so we would certainly hope that Pakistan understands that," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters yesterday.
He was responding to questions about India's membership application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and opposition to it by Pakistan on the grounds that this would give pace to nuclear arms race in the region.
However, the US has fingers crossed, ahead of the crucial meeting of the 48-nation NSG.
"Look, all I can say is that during his visit to India in 2015, President (Barack) Obama did affirm the US view that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for membership. But it's a consensus body, so we'll wait and see how the vote goes," Toner said.
"Deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group are an internal matter among the current members. I don't have much to say beyond that other than that I think they meet regularly," he said. The upcoming NSG meeting has not been set up for this purpose, he said.
"This I not a specific meeting, I believe – not set up to particularly talk about this issue. They (Pakistan) have made public their interest, and certainly any country can submit its application for membership. We will consider based on a consensus decision," Toner said.