US asks NSG members to support India's NSG membership

Washington: The US today asked the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to consider and support India's application to join the grouping during their plenary meeting in Seoul beginning tomorrow.

"We believe, and this has been US policy for some time, that India is ready for membership and the United States calls on participating governments to support India's application at the plenary session of NSG later this week," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

"At same time, participating governments will need to reach a consensus decision in order to admit any applicant into the group, and the United States will certainly be advocating for India's membership," Earnest said on the eve of the 48-member grouping's plenary meeting in Seoul beginning Tuesday.

His comments came after China has said that India's membership is not on the agenda of the NSG meeting. US President Barack Obama, Earnest said, had an opportunity to discuss this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was at the White House early this month, he said. "The United States, as you know, strongly supports India's application to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Earnest said.

"We have made our views known both publicly and privately, and we'll continue to do so in advance of the meeting this week," Earnest said when asked if the US has reached out to members of the NSG in support of India's application.

At a separate news conference, the State Department reiterated the same. "As you know, during Prime Minister Modi's visit, the President welcomed India's application to join the NSG and reaffirmed that India is ready for membership. We continue to call on the participating governments, the NSG, to support India's application at the plenary session this week itself," State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference.

"This is something that we have -- India's application is something we have routinely talked to other NSG participating members. This is not a new topic of discussion that we've had privately with the members," Kirby said. Pakistan applied for NSG membership, a week after India submitted its membership applications.

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