The administration of US President Donald Trump has urged the 48 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to support New Delhi's long-pending application, but the move is really a reiteration of the country's old stand, not a real turnaround in India's chances of getting into the 48-member elite club that controls the nuclear trade.
New Delhi (Sputnik)-Experts question whether Washington has the wherewithal to pull its weight and bring China on board to favorably settle the issue of India's membership, and are less than hopeful. India's road to the NSG goes via Moscow, say experts, as it is Russia that is better placed to take New Delhi's case up with Beijing.
The US Defense and State Departments in a joint report submitted to Congress as required under the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017 reaffirmed their support for India's membership in the Wassenaar Arrangement, Australia Group, and the Missile Technology Control Regime, in addition the NSG. India is already a member of the MTCR and subscribed to the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation in June 2016.
"Since 2010, the US has supported India's membership in the four multilateral export control regimes… as India prepared to take the steps required for membership in each one," the report said.
Experts reckon the limits to Washington's ability to make China reconsider its stance opposing India's membership.
"The US in 2017 under President Donald Trump is not the country it was in 2008, before the global economic recession kicked in, when it got the NSG waiver for India. Likewise, China has grown in stature and thinks of itself as a superpower arrived. India's case in the NSG can be better served with Russian President Vladimir Putin taking it up with the Chinese and explaining how our entry benefits the regime and global nuclear trade," Dr Swaran Singh, professor at the School of International Studies at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University and noted expert on India-China relations, told Sputnik.
In addition to the US, India has received the support of major countries in the group, including Russia and major European powers, but China continues to insist on a two-step approach on the membership bids of countries like India and Pakistan, which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Singh also thinks "India and China can work out a deal on their entry into the NSG and the MTCR respectively."
This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.