Seoul/New Delhi: France on Wednesday joined the US in strongly backing Indias bid for NSG, which begins a two- day plenary tomorrow in Seoul, where Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar arrived to garner support in the 48-nation grouping which is divided over the issue.
China continued to stonewall Indias entry harping on the need to have a criteria for countries like India which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and clubbing Indias case with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
While making some right noises of playing "constructive" role on the issue of memberships of India and Pakistan, China maintained that the matter was not on the agenda of the plenary. Here too, Beijing clubbed the two sub-continental neighbours despite the marked difference in their nuclear non-proliferation track record.
Officials in New Delhi emphasised that NSG process was "delicate and complex" and cautioned against speculating on Indias prospects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet in Tashkent tomorrow where they are attending the SCO Summit. Modi may talk to Xi on NSG issue but whether the Chinese will alter their stance is a moot point.
Roughly 20 countries are backing Indias case fully but given that the decisions in NSG are taken by consensus, India faces uphill task. But there was a degree of optimism among Indian officials which explains Jaishankars presence in the South Korean capital.
France volunteered a statement today to assert that India?s participation in nuclear control regimes will help better regulate the export of sensitive goods, whether they are nuclear, chemical, biological, ballistic or conventional materials and technologies.
"France considers that India?s entry into the four multilateral export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, The Australia Group, The Wassenaar Arrangement) will bolster international efforts for combating proliferation...
"In line with its active and long-standing support to India’s entry to the NSG as a full-fledged member, France calls on its members, who are meeting on 23 June in Seoul, to take a positive decision," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The French statement comes a day after the White House had in a statement said India was "ready" for NSG membership and asked participating governments to support Indias application at the plenary session of NSG.