(Reuters) – Some states still appear to be skeptical about letting nuclear-armed India into an influential body regulating sensitive atomic trade, diplomats said on Thursday, suggesting Indian membership may not be imminent.
The United States, Britain, France are among countries pushing for allowing India – a growing market for such commerce – to join the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a move that would boost the Asian nation’s status as an atomic power.
But others worry about the implications for wider efforts to prevent the spread of atomic bombs if a country that has refused to sign a global anti-nuclear weapons pact were to enter a group which has a key role in countering proliferation of these arms.
If India joined the group, set up in 1975 to ensure that civilian nuclear technology exports are not diverted to make atomic arms, it would be the only member that is outside the 189-nation nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“There are concerns that still need to be addressed,” one diplomat said. Like others, he declined to be identified in view of the confidential discussions in the consensus-based NSG.
A Western diplomat, from a country which like several others has yet to take a clear position on the issue, said: “It is not a done deal. We have to continue the discussions.”
Five world powers – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France – in the NSG have nuclear arsenals but were allowed to keep them under the NPT because they predated the 1970 treaty, although they committed to disarming eventually.
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