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Nuclear Suppliers Group Switzerland backs India for nuclear exporting club

Besides India's NSG membership the two leaders also discussed potential free trade and bank information sharing treaties

(Keystone)

Switzerland continues to support India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – a 48 nation group that regulates nuclear exports - despite recent claims in the Indian media of a change of heart. 

“Switzerland supports India’s candidature [to the NSG] and engages constructively in order to find a consensus solution for the remaining open questions,” Pierre-Alain Eltschinger, spokesperson for the Federal Depart of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) told swissinfo.ch. 

The “open questions” relate to the problem of allowing countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treatyexternal link (NPT) – such as India – into the NSGexternal link, something which a significant number of members are currently against. 

However, Switzerland is convinced that India, despite not signing the NPT, will work to ensure that nuclear material doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. 

“Switzerland acknowledges India’s support to global non-proliferation efforts,” said Eltschinger. 

Swiss backing

Swiss President Johan Schneider-Ammann had assured Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of Swiss backing for NSG membership during the latter’s visit to the country on June 6. Switzerland is a member of the NSG.

India’s application was brought up at the NSG Plenary in Seoul, South Korea held on June 23 and 24 but the country failed to gain entry into the club, largely due to the fact that it had not signed the NPT. 

The Indian media pounced on Switzerland, accusing it of reneging on a promise. 

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However, Swiss authorities deny blocking India’s membership or changing their mind on India’s place at the NSG table. 

“At the NSG Plenary from 23-24 June 2016 in Seoul, no consensus was found either on discussing the Indian membership application or on the question of how to integrate non-NPT States in general,” said Eltschinger.

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