India's NSG entry not about arms race, US tells Pakistan

Countering Pakistan's opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the US on Friday said that India's membership was about civilian use of nuclear energy, and not an arms race. The US was a key supporter of India's membership of the group.

The US has maintained that India fulfils the requirements for joining the NSG.

China and Pakistan, which also want entry into the group, have been objecting to India's entry. China argues that India shouldn't be included as it has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"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," State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference on in Washington on Friday.

The 48-nation group is scheduled to meet for its annual plenary session next month when the issue of India's entry into the group would be discussed. As the body is a consensual one voting will take place about allowing India's entry.

Pakistan has been apprehensive about India's entry. The neighbouring country had argued that the move would lead to an arms race in the subcontinent. China had on Monday countered India's argument that France was allowed into the group despite not signing the NPT saying that it was a founder member of the group. Hence, there was no question of about its entry into the group.

"They (Pakistan) have made public their interest, and certainly any country can submit its application for membership. We will consider based on a consensus decision," the spokesman said.

Being a member of NSG would give India access to more fuel and a global market, experts had argued in 2013, when the bid for an NSG membership was being made by India.