New Delhi–The US on Monday reiterated its support for India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group in the wake of the latter’s failed membership bid at the NSG plenary meet last week in Seoul.

“India has a strong record, and deserves to be included in the NSG. That is why the (Barack Obama) administration, including senior White House and State Department officials, made a concerted effort to secure India’s membership in the recent NSG plenary session held in Seoul,” US Ambassador to India Richard Verma said here while delivering a talk on India-US trade relations.

Richard Verma
Richard Verma

“We were disappointed India was not admitted during this recent session, but we will continue to work constructively with India and all the NSG members on India’s accession in the months ahead.

“Six years ago, President Obama first expressed his support for India’s membership in the NSG. Since that time, we have worked closely with our Indian counterparts and NSG members to help advance India’s case for membership,” he said.

India’s latest bid for an NSG membership, that would allow it to trade in nuclear materials and technology was foiled by China on the grounds that New Delhi has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Meanwhile on Monday, India became the 35th member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) — an association of countries that controls the proliferation of missiles and unmmanned delivery of weapons of mass destruction.

Referring to India-US civil nuclear cooperation, Verma said the two sides have moved forward on a project to build six Westinghouse reactors producing power for around 60 million people.

“This is a deal that had been pending for 10 years, and we were pleased to see it move even closer to fruition,” he said.

Referring to some hurdles in boosting Indo-US trade, Verma urged for progress on concluding a bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

“We have been on-again off-again for about 8 years in our pursuit of a treaty. And I’m afraid things have become a bit more difficult,” the envoy said.

“In India’s recent model draft BIT, there were departures from the high standards that we had seen in other treaties India had negotiated, for example, with South Korea and Japan,” he added.