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U.K. to back India's membership of export control regimes

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was on Wednesday assured British support for India's bid for full membership of the four multilateral export control regimes.

The assurance came during her talks with Foreign Office officials here, including Permanent Under Secretary Simon Fraser. India wants to join the Nuclear Suppliers' Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Group and had received public backing from several countries, including America, Russia and France.

Wide-ranging talks

In a statement issued after the talks, the Foreign Office said Britain would work “together to support India's applications” to join the four regimes. Other issues that came up during what were described as “wide-ranging” discussions included the situation in Afghanistan, stepping up cooperation in counter-terror efforts and tackling climate change.

“India and the United Kingdom share a special and unique relationship, bound by shared values and ties, including the ideals of democracy, the rule of law, inclusiveness and pluralism. The bilateral relationship reflects this unique bond, covering the entire spectrum of activity, from education, to trade and investment, to counter-terrorism and other security cooperation,” the statement said.

Earlier, in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, she spoke of India's “impeccable non-proliferation record and its contributions to global non-proliferation objectives.”

Ms. Rao said, “We have in place strict and effective controls over the export of sensitive items in line with the best international standards. India has expressed interest in the full membership of the four multilateral export control regimes which we believe will be mutually beneficial. We are engaged with the regimes and regime members and hope to make progress in that direction with the support of our partners, including the U.K.”

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