India’s bid to become a member nation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has failed, according to reportscoming out of Seoul, where a plenary session of the 48-nation bloc began today. Despite India securing the backing of the United States, France, Japan (and others), China continued to oppose India’s membership. In addition to China, Brazil and Switzerland – both previously favouring India’s bid – withdrew their support, rendering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent Switzerland visit futile. Ireland, Austria and New Zealand are also reported to have expressed their opposition to India’s membership.
The main bone of contention is that India is not a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is one of the criteria for NSG membership. However, India had hoped that this wouldn’t hamper its chances as the NPT is not mandatory and only a guideline. But China exploited the NPT issue, claiming that the “NPT is a must” and the rule is “set by the NSG”, not by China.
For now, India’s best hope is that India’s application finds a mention in the NSG closing statement, which would allow the issue to be raised again in the future.
Unsurprisingly, the reactions to this development ranged from disappointment with ‘so-called friends’ to ridicule for PM Modi’s diplomacy. Subramanian Swamy, of course, wants an investigation.