India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday departed left for Seoul on a previously unannounced trip. The trip takes place just ahead of a very crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) amid expectations that India’s bid for entry into the elite nuclear export control group may be considered this time.

“While it is true that the Foreign Secretary has flown to Seoul, the NSG plenary hasn’t even begun yet,” a highly placed diplomatic source said here.

The source said India’s entry into the club “is a delicate and complex process” and nothing could be stated conclusively as of now. “At this point, let us not speculate,” the source said.

Jaishankar’s sudden visit comes amid relentless Indian lobbying carried out with NSG member countries for its entry into NSG despite opposition shown earlier by members like China. The club regulates nuclear commerce on the global arena.

The 48-nation grouping works on the principle of consensus and allows a new member only if all existing members agree.

China insists that India, being a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), cannot be allowed in unless there was a consensus in the grouping. 

Beijing says that if any concession was given to India, the same should apply to Pakistan. Some other countries also have reservations about India’s membership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to leave for Tashkent for a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) — a Eurasian political and economic bloc. 

Modi is likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and take up with him the issue of India’s NSG membership.


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