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One country can’t stop India’s NSG membership: US

New Delhi, June 29: The US is committed to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and one country cannot stop intertiol consensus on this, a senior Barack Obama administration official said here on Wednesday. “We are committed to having India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Thomas Shannon, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said in an interaction with diplomats and officer trainees of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) here. “India’s recent entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) highlights that India is a responsible and important player in non-proliferation,” he said.

His comments came after Chi, at the NSG plery in Seoul earlier this month, stymied intertiol consensus to include India in the 48-member group on the ground that a country needed to be a sigtory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for this. India formally applied for membership in the NSG earlier on May 12.

“We regret that in Seoul, we were uble to open the space necessary to have India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group at this moment,” Shannon said. “We understand that in a consensus-based organisation, one country cannot stop intertiol consensus.” Earlier in his address to the gathering, Shannon said that civil nuclear cooperation was a “very important symbol” of the India-US relationship. “Where the nuclear question once divided us, today it brings us together,” he said. “Just a few weeks ago, President Obama and Prime Minister (rendra) Modi welcomed the start of preparatory work on a site in Andhra Pradesh for six AP 1000 reactors to be built by an American company. “This is expected to provide jobs in both countries and bring clean, reliable electricity that will help meet India’s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels.”

Shannon also referred to US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remark that the US might not have another partnership that was so wide-ranging as the one with India. “A key factor has certainly been the connection between our two peoples,” he said. “The three million Indian Americans are some of the most successful people in the United States. They have started 15 percent of Silicon Valley companies, become governors and Members of Congress, and won the Miss America pageant.”

The US official also pointed out that 130,000 Indians were studying in his country and more than a million Americans visited India last year. As for bilateral trade ties, Shannon said that “US and Indian business leaders and young entrepreneurs have shown their own ambitions to work together”. “Annual trade between our countries is now over $107 billion a year, five times what it was a decade ago,” he said.

He also said that US-India defence cooperation was much broader, as both countries now looked to each other as “priority partners” in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region. “In fact, we see India as an anchor of stability in this dymic region, and were pleased to filise the text of a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (Lemoa) this month,” Shannon said. (IANS)

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Ankur Kalita