President Barack Obama, supports India's bid to enter the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group but the nation probably need to wait a while longer before joining the elite club of nations that control trade in advanced nuclear technologies, according to three diplomats with knowledge of the process.
The Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG, is unlikely to accept India's application for membership when it meets June 20 in Seoul because officials in New Delhi haven't yet met all the criteria for admission, said the diplomats, who represent governments inside the 48-nation group. They asked not to be named in line with diplomatic rules for discussing private deliberations.
A delay could roil plans by President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Modi, who were meeting in Washington, to bring the world's second-most-populous nation into the nuclear mainstream. It would push back a decision on Indian membership to later in the year, and risk bumping into the U.S. presidential election.
Secretary of State John Kerry made a plea to member states skeptical toward India's bid for NSG membership to "agree not to block consensus on Indian admission" to the group at the Seoul meeting, accord to a two-page letter dated June 3 seen by Bloomberg News.
"India has shown strong support for the objectives of the NSG and the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and is a 'like-minded' state deserving of NSG admission," Kerry wrote.
A State Department spokeswoman, asked to respond to the comments from the diplomats, said that Obama affirmed that the country has met the requirements when he visited Modi in New Delhi last year.
Modi has been lobbying for NSG membership over the last year as part of his effort to deliver reliable power the country's 1.3 billion people.