China stays firm, but other countries may back India’s NSG bid

Highlights
  • A consultative group meeting of the NSG is currently on, where India’s membership is being discussed
  • Germany supports the proceedings of the NSG consultative committee
  • The US has also reiterated its support for India’s membership

Some countries who had been opposed to India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) may be coming around to being more accepting of India’s candidature. “There is a greater buy-in from these countries”, said senior German diplomatic sources. A consultative group meeting of the NSG is currently on, where India’s membership is being discussed.

Needless to add, China is not among these countries. The evolution in positions has been a result of continued backroom diplomacy said sources familiar with developments. The US, last week, reiterated its support for India’s membership, but with China remaining the most powerful outlier, India’s chances are no brighter today than earlier.

Markus Ederer, Germany’s foreign secretary, met his counterpart S Jaishankar to take forward the key elements of the relationship as both countries prepare for a key inter-governmental commission meeting in Berlin in May. PM Narendra Modi will be traveling to Germany twice this year – once in May and then again for the G-20 summit in Hamburg in July.

Interestingly, Germany is, for the first time, directing significant foreign policy interest in the Indian Ocean, working with India on it.

Jaishankar will address top German diplomats at their internal meeting in Sri Lanka this week. While Germany does not have much of territorial interest, they are coming round to the conclusion that the Indian Ocean needs greater attention in geo-political and geo-economic terms.

They believe a global competition is shaping up over the Indian Ocean, and as a major trading power, Germany has an interest in ensuring the Indian Ocean remains a rules-based and stable area. Just as India is working on its own plans for the littoral states, Germany too is developing a “maritime agenda” for the rim states, German sources said.

India and Germany are focusing on sectors that are closely aligned with the Modi government’s priorities – renewable energy, smart cities+ , connectivity, clean Ganga, dual education, railways etc. “India is one of our most important strategic partners globally”, said German diplomats.

But as China and the US+ veer towards very different directions, Berlin and New Delhi are coming to the conclusion that closer cooperation might be more necessary than ever.

Both countries have their own spheres of influence and “at a time when the global free trade system is under pressure and the US is retrenching, we both feel we have to take greater responsibility for our regions.”

By: TNN

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