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NZ: Wrong to say we opposed India’s bid

Wants criterion fixed to let non-NPT states into club27 Jun 2016 | 1:52 AM

NEW DELHI:New Zealand today said it would be wrong to say that it opposed India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

[ + read story ]

KV Prasad & Simran Sodhi

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26

New Zealand today said it would be wrong to say that it opposed India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Rather, it wanted a criterion to be fixed for the entry of non-NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) states into the NSG.

  In an email response exclusively to The Tribune, a spokesperson of New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully sought to set the record straight.

India’s entry into the NSG was rejected by the plenary session of the NSG in Seoul. While India has blamed “one country”, meaning China, for blocking its bid to the NSG, it remains a fact that there were other countries (besides China) that had reservations on letting in a country that has not signed the NPT. Turkey, Brazil, Austria, Switzerland, along with New Zealand, had their reservations on the Indian application to become a member of the NSG.

“It is quite wrong to describe New Zealand as opposed to India’s membership of the NSG. New Zealand has a long history of taking a principled stand against nuclear weapons and their proliferation. New Zealand believes that it is very important for NSG members to consider carefully what criteria should be used in assessing applications from non-NPT states. 

“This was New Zealand’s position at the NSG plenary meeting which just ended in Seoul. India is the first applicant for membership of the NSG which is not a member of the cornerstone Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). All members of the NPT make legally binding commitments on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We believe constructive discussions should lead to a pathway against which India’s application can be properly considered,” said a spokesperson in the office of McCully.

President Pranab Mukherjee had recently visited New Zealand and it was reliably learnt that the President had raised the NSG issue with the New Zealand leadership. However, it seems India was not able to deal with the reservations expressed by New Zealand.


NSG may meet again

New Delhi, June 26

The Nuclear Suppliers Group, whose membership India failed to get two days back, is likely to meet again before the end of the year to specially discuss the process for allowing non-NPT signatories into the 48-nation grouping, thus providing another chance to India to press its claim.

Sources said  that at the suggestion of Mexico, it has been decided that another meeting of NSG should be held before the end of the year to consider the criteria for allowing non-NPT signatories like India into the group. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year.

Sources added that Mexico’s suggestion was opposed by China but found support from a large number of countries, including the US. A panel for informal consultations on India’s membership has also been set up by the NSG and it will be headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.

Grossi’s appointment came even as a top US official said that the NSG session in Seoul had ended with a “path forward” for India’s acceptance as a member. — PTI

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