Prime Minister Narendra Modi secured another win on Thursday with Mexico agreeing to support India’s bid for membership into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
On his first visit to the country, Modi received a very warm welcome from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Mexico’s decision to support India’s bid is highly significant because it has always been against the entry of any nation not a subscriber to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“Mexico recognizes India’s interest in joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group…As a country we have a positive and constructive backing for this,” said Pena Nieto at his Los Pinos residence after his meeting with Modi.
Earlier this week, Switzerland changed a similar policy of not letting any country not adhering to non-proliferation enter the NSG and went in favour of India.
It should be noted here that both Switzerland and Mexico changed their minds after the visit of PM Modi. In fact, the two countries were added at the last moment to the Prime Minister’s itinerary before he embarked on his foreign visits on June 4.
Mexico and Switzerland were added because of India’s concerns over the two countries not in support of the country’s bid.
Mexican President Pena Nieto said he supported India’s membership because of PM Modi’s “commitment to the agenda of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.”
Underlining the depth of India-Mexico ties, the Mexican President personally drove Modi to dinner at a restaurant.
Modi’s visit to Mexico – a first for an Indian PM since 1986 – follows his US trip and his address to the US Congress – a rare honour for any visiting head of state or government.
US President Barack Obama urged the 48-member NSG to let India join the club given the country’s record of non-proliferation and adherence to international norms in spite of not being a member of any treaty.
On Tuesday, June 7, India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a major non-proliferation group.
Does this mean India will get this entry?
One country in the 48-member group is vehemently against India – China.
Beijing is unlikely to back down from its anti-India stand and will continue demanding Pakistan’s entry into the elite club.
Pakistan applied for NSG membership a week after India’s application on May 12.
Pakistan has a very poor proliferation record, but being Islamabad’s “all-weather friend” and US’ biggest rival on the global stage, Beijing will continue to block India.
But China is not alone. Italy, Netherlands and Norway too have reservations due to the NPT angle. Also, analysts say that Obama administration’s push for India is not as intense as that of former President George W Bush in 2008.
The NSG members have a plenary meeting on June 20, where India’s entry into the club will be finalized. Before that the group will meet in Vienna on June 9 and 10 where India’s entry will be discussed.