After US and France, Russia backs India for NSG

New Delhi, Dec 21 (IANS) Russia Tuesday followed the US and France in backing India’s membership of elite nuclear clubs, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), as Moscow and New Delhi sought to intensify cooperation in preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who began his two-day visit to India early Tuesday morning, discussed a host of bilateral issues, including expanding the scope of civil nuclear cooperation and enhanced collaboration in the area of nuclear disarmament.

They signed a pact for broadening cooperation in the area of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

‘India and the Russian Federation, as responsible states, possessing advanced nuclear technologies, share the objective of preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, including preventing their possible acquisition by terrorist groups,’ said a joint statement after the talks.

‘The Russian side expressed readiness to assist and promote a discussion and positive decision in the NSG on India’s full membership in the NSG, and welcomed India’s intention to seek full membership,’ said the joint statement while calling for increased cooperation to strengthen global non-proliferation efforts.

‘India underscored its determination to actively contribute to international efforts aimed at strengthening nuclear non-proliferation regime. Russia also took into positive consideration India’s interest in full membership in Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement,’ the statement said.

The declaration of support by Russia, one of the earliest backers of civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi, came weeks after the US and France backed India for the membership of key multilateral nuclear groupings, which control the global trade in dual-use technologies, during the visits of US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India respectively.

The two sides also supported the inherent right of states to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and stressed the need for all states to comply with their respective obligations on non-proliferation.

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