India’s bid for NSG membership may figure in Modi-Key talks

New Delhi [India], Oct. 26 : India's bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is likely to figure in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's talks with his New Zealand counterpart John Key on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Key, accompanied by his wife Bronagh and a high level business and education delegation, arrived here on Tuesday for a three-day-long state visit.

His arrival was delayed by a day after the aircraft carrying him and 80 other passengers broke down in Townsville.

Prime Minister Key was to arrive in Mumbai on Monday to deliver a keynote address at an event organised by the Bombay Stock Exchange in association with the Chambers of Commerce.

He was also scheduled to meet the Governor and Chief Minister of Maharashtra and attend a innovation showcase event to celebrate New Zealand-India business partnerships.

Addressing the media on October 20, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "In Delhi, Prime Minister Key will hold one to one meeting with Prime Minister Modi, followed by an official delegation-level meeting to discuss the growing bilateral relations." Prime Minister Key will call on President Pranab Mukherjee during the visit and will also be attending a business summit as well.

"On the conclusion of his visit, Prime Minister Key shall depart Delhi on October 27 via Kochi, where his delegation and he will undertake a short tour of the New Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by New Zealand firm Glidepath Group," said Swarup.

"Prime Minister Key will also be accompanied by member of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, the chair of foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, Member of Parliament.

Key last visited India in 2011. President Mukherjee visited New Zealand in May, the first ever visit of President of India to New Zealand," he said.

When asked if India would take up the issue of NSG membership with the visiting Prime Minister as New Zealand did not support to India's membership, Swarup, while contesting the question, said, "What we are telling all our partners is what we will tell New Zealand also that why the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group is important for India; why predictability and access are two key issues which are necessary for us to achieve our clean energy goals and to achieve the targets that we have outlined very positively at the INDS, which has now become the national determined contribution as part of the Paris Agreement, which we have ratified." He further said, "Nuclear energy is going to play a very important role in our energy mix, but international investment would be wary of making big investments unless they have the assurance of predictability and transparency that rules are not changed midway.

Our credentials in the field of non-proliferation is very well known. We know that India's record is impeccable and I think on the basis of all this we believe we have all the credentials to be a member of the NSG and we hope that at the end of the day the 48-member grouping will see the logic of India's entry, because it will only strengthen the Global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," he added.

When asked whether Prime Minister Modi would raise the NSG issue, Swarup said, "I am not confirming that, but I assume that considering this is an important issue and New Zealand is a member of the 48-member grouping and the NSG issue was raised with our other partners as well, I would imagine that it would be raised, but eventually, it is raised or not raised, you will come to know only when the meeting actually happens.".

Source: ANI