Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks on Wednesday with his New Zealand counterpart John Key, who arrived on a three-day India visit on Tuesday, during which he is likely to seek Wellington’s support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in atomic material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Ahead of Key’s visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India will tell New Zealand it had “all the credentials” to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that it would strengthen the NPT regime. “We believe that we have all the credentials to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and we hope that at the end of the day the 48 member grouping will see the logic of India’s entry because it will only strengthen the global non-proliferation regime,” Swarup had said.Key, who was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on Monday, cancelled that leg of his tour, due to a technical problem in his aircraft.
Apart from Delhi, where Key will hold extensive talks with Modi on key bilateral issues and call on President Pranab Mukherjee, besides attending a business summit, he will also travel to Kochi on Thursday. In Kochi, he and his delegation will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand company, Glidepath. Key will be accompanied by members of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP. He had last visited India in 2011.