The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will decide on India’s application for membership.
A US State Department spokesman observed on Friday said that any country, including Pakistan, could apply for NSG membership.
The US State Department was confident that it had generated a consensus in the NSG in favour of India, spokesman Mark Toner stated that during his India visit in 2015, President Obama did affirm the US view that India had met the missile technology control regime requirements and was ready for a membership. “But, it’s (NSG) a consensus body, so we will wait and see how the vote goes,’’ the spokesman said stating the US position.
At a hearing of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee on US-India ties this week, Senator Edward J Markey severely criticised US efforts to support India’s membership of the NSG, describing it a “dangerous policy’’, which would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region.
The Senator said that the US was pushing for a vote in spite of the fact that there was lack of consensus in the NSG on Indian’s membership, and warned any exemptions to India by the US for the membership would infuriate Pakistan and push it increase its own nuclear capability.
When asked about Pakistan’s application for NSG membership and if the US supports Pakistan for that, the spokesman stated that any country could submit its application for membership. “And we will consider based on a consensus decision,’’ he said about Pakistan.
Pakistan last week submitted a formal application for NSG membership, saying the decision to seek participation in the export control regime reflects Pakistan’s strong support for international efforts to prevent proliferation. Pakistan has also stressed the need for the NSG to adopt a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of the countries which have never been party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Both Pakistan and India have never joined the NPT.
Asked if the forthcoming meeting of the NSG was called by the US, the spokesman stated that the deliberation about the prospects of new members joining the NSG was an internal matter among the current members. He said the NSG met regularly and did not believe it was called to particularly talk about Indian membership.