Mexico backs India?s bid to join Nuclear Suppliers Group

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto arrives during the official welcome ceremony on day one of the G20 Turkey Leaders Summit on November 15, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey Photograph:( Getty )

Reuters Mexico City Jun 09, 2016, 06.30 AM (IST)
Mexico supports India in its efforts to join the non-proliferation body of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Wednesday, and was thanked by visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India is emerging from decades of isolation over its nuclear arms programme, and is poised to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) after talks this week between Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington.

Both groups would give India greater access to research and technology, but China has so far blocked India´s accession to the NSG.

"Mexico recognises India's interest in joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Pena Nieto said at his Los Pinos residence. "As a country we have a positive and constructive backing for this."

Mexico supported India's membership because of Modi's "commitment to the agenda of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation," he added.

India's bid for full membership of the 48-nation club, if granted, would tip the balance of power in South Asia against its arch-rival Pakistan, whose own application has been backed by China, despite questions over its proliferation record.

Pena Nieto's support is a boost for Modi, but he must still win China's support to seal India's membership of the non-proliferation body at the group's annual meeting in South Korea this month.

"I thank President Pena Nieto for his positive and constructive support for India's membership of the NSG," Modi said.

The backing represents a historic policy shift for Mexico which has held a firm position on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation for decades.

One of Mexico's crowning diplomatic achievements was the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco, which declared Latin America and the Caribbean a zone free of nuclear weapons.

Switzerland this week agreed to support India's bid for membership made last month, after winning a waiver in 2008 allowing it to trade in commercial nuclear technology.

Modi tacked on Switzerland and Mexico as extra stops on a five-country tour to seek their support on joining the NSG.