After France and US, Germany pitches for India’s entry into NSG

Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW DELHI - On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Germany, Berlin has come out in open support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group elite group.

German ambassador to India Thomas Matussek said: “If India meets the conditions, and so far it has met the conditions, we will support India to become a full member of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.”

Matussek also said Germany has no reservations in supporting India’s entry into the NSG even if it does not sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“We very highly value India’s commitment to non-proliferation, and we appreciate and admire India’s track record in the non-proliferation area,and although India is not the party to NPT, we value the dialogue and do some brainstorming on how we can strengthen the NPT system,” the German envoy added.

The United States and France have already expressed there support for India becoming a permanent member of the UNSC.

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama, and on Sunday, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, backed India’s entry into the elite NSG club, which controls the nuclear commerce of the world and seeks to contribute to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.

In 2008, Germany held the NSG presidency and played an instrumental role in securing India a special waiver from the group, which ultimately ended India’s nuclear apartheid.

Germany with its cutting edge turbine technology and nuclear safety components is eyeing India’s nuclear commerce pie. It hopes India will address the concerns of suppliers and has welcomed the signing of Vienna convention by India.

Ambassador Matussek said: “Recent signing on the Convention of Supplementary Compensation in Vienna is a very reassuring step, and in the right direction.”

After attending the India-EU summit in Brussels on December 10, Prime Minister Singh will arrive in Berlin on December 11, for bilateral meetings with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German leaders.

Germany also expects that India and the EU to iron out differences over a free trade agreement which has been under negotiation since 2007.

Ambassador Matussek said: “The EU is very actively working on her relationship with strategic partners, including India. As far as the India-EU Summit is concerned, we expect a important political guidance for future development of EU-India relations. We believe that the summit will agree on the shape, on the basic parameters of the EU-India Free Trade Agreement.”

The EU is India’s largest trading partner, and Germany and India have set a very ambitious target of 20 billion US dollars bilateral trade by 2012.

During his tour of Europe, Dr. Singh is expected to discuss a host of global issues like the progress on G-20 related issues, climate change and piracy. Regional issues like the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan will also be discussed at the EU-India Summit and later in bilaterals with the German leadership.

However no agreements will be signed in Germany.

Echoing India’s position on the exit of foreign forces from Afghanistan, Ambassador Matussek said: “We will not leave the Afghan people alone. Exit will not be calendar driven, but it should be result driven.”

“We believe that there is a good chance that we can hand over certain districts, certain provinces, parts of provinces of Afghanistan into the security management of Afghan forces. We believe that by 2014 this process can be completed. It might be that things may go terribly wrong, and then, we have to adjust our calendar accordingly,” he added.

Ambassador Matussek also expressed deep concerns over ‘unstable’ Pakistan and called for engagement with the democratic and responsible forces.

He said: “We fear that the internal situation in Pakistan is unstable, and we ask also how can we contribute to the stability of Pakistan, and if the system breaks down, we all, and first and foremost India, will be at the receiving end of it.”

“What we have to do is to engage with Pakistan and strengthen democratic responsible elements in Pakistan. It is not a matter of arm twisting, it’s a matter of sincere dialogue,” he added further.

Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Singh are also expected to discuss in great detail the ongoing defence collaboration between the two countries.

Germany is bidding for multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), and the Euro copter is also a strong contender for the 197 light helicopters required by the Indian Army. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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