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US backs India’s bid for entry in nuclear group

Bringing India into international processes will help promote its security protocols

US backs India’s bid for entry in nuclear group
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Narendra Modi with the family members of late astronaut Kalpana Chawla, and Sunita Williams

Washington

Backing India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the US has said by becoming the member of the elite group the country would be in a stronger position to be a “good citizen” on proliferation-related issues. 

“Having gone down the path of the civil nuclear agreement with India, we have invested a significant amount of time in building up our cooperation with India as it relates to nuclear security,” Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes told a Washington audience. 

Rhodes remarks on India came in response to a query about why some countries like China are opposing India’s membership in the 48-member NSG. 

“I think the bottom line for us is that we believe that through engagement with India and through engagement with groups like the NSG, we are in a better position to support India as a good citizen on these issues,” Rhodes said. He said the US believed that engaging India and trying to bring it into international processes will be more effective in promoting the country’s security protocols. 

“And frankly, it takes place against continued conversations that we have with India about their approach to nuclear weapons; and of course, the support that we’ve always expressed for diplomatic efforts between India and Pakistan,” Rhodes said in response to a question at an event organised by the Arms Control Association. 

The Washington-based Arms Control Association is a thinktank that opposed the India-US civil nuclear deal and is now opposing India’s membership to NSG. Meanwhile, members of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a key anti-proliferation grouping, have agreed to admit India, diplomats said, in a win for Modi as he met President Barack Obama on Tuesday. 

Admission to MTCR would open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology, also making more realistic its aspiration to buy state-of-the-art surveillance drones like the US Predator.

US returns 200 stolen artefacts

The US on Tuesday returned to India over 200 stolen cultural artefacts, some dating back 2,000 years, estimated at USD 100 million, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the cultural heritage as a great binding force in bilateral relationships. “Heritage becomes important in the relations of two countries. Sometimes what cannot be done by living persons is done by idols,” said Modi.   

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