Expressing dissatisfaction over China and Pakistan’s opposition to India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the US has said that the South Asian country’s non-proliferation track record is satisfactory and it should become the 49th member of the prestigious group.

The Barrack Obama administration also downplayed Beijing and Islamabad’s fear of India’s entry into the NSG, with Deputy Spokesperson of US State Department Mark Toner saying: “This is not about an arms race and it’s not about nuclear weapons. This is about the peaceful civil use of nuclear energy, and so we would certainly hope that Pakistan understands that.” Washington believes that India’s NSG membership would not trigger nuclear arms race in South Asia, said the senior US official.

Toner told the press: “All I can say is that during his visit to India in 2015, President Obama did affirm the US view that India meets missile technology control regime requirements and is ready for membership. But it’s a consensus body, so we’ll wait and see how the vote goes. Deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the NSG are internal matter among the current members. I don’t have much to say beyond that other than that I think they meet regularly.”

Meanwhile, Indian foreign policy experts have welcomed Toner’s statement that has been issued ahead of the crucial meeting of the 48-nation Group. Experts are of the opinion that arguments over UN Security Council and various nuclear club memberships clearly show that Islamabad and Beijing are bend on impending India’s rise. That is why China is using its proxy Pakistan (where needed) to block India’s bid for NSG membership. For long, China has been promoting Pakistan as a subcontinental irritant and the process is aimed not at organic strengthening of Pakistani capacities, but simply at building a tactical instrument against India.

However, the US backs India’s NSG membership bid by recognising the South Asian country’s historical and cultural wingspan across the Indian Ocean. The US is also well aware of the fact that India can counter the Chinese hegemony in the region by maintaining “friendly” ties with other South and South-East Asian nations.

As far as India-Pakistan relations are concerned, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that New Delhi was ready to take the first step to improve ties, but Islamabad would have to play its part in shunning terror, as the path to peace is a two-way traffic. The Indian PM told the Wall Street Journal that Pakistan should remove the self-imposed obstacle of terrorism in the path of bilateral relationship. He sent a clear message to Islamabad, saying that India and Pakistan should together fight against terrorism and poverty, instead of fighting with each other.

Prime Minister Modi further assured the global community that India, as world’s largest democracy and fastest growing economy, is acutely conscious of its responsibilities both in the region and internationally. So, according to the PM, Pakistan and other countries should not be worried about India’s NSG membership. He explained that India has no plan to change its non-alignment policy that is basically a legacy and has been in place.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]