NEW DELHI: Hours after securing Switzerland’s assurance of support for India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Washington for a three-day visit late on Monday night.
“We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG,” said Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. India has stepped up its diplomatic outreach to various NSG member countries, including China, ahead of the crucial NSG meet slated later in June.
Swiss support for India’s NSG bid is crucial considering opposition from China on grounds that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Switzerland for the “understanding and support” extended by the country to India’s membership. The US and many other NSG member countries have supported India’s inclusion based on its non-proliferation track record. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid. India has been pushing for membership for the last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12. It will be taken up for consideration in its plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul. The NSG deals with critical issues in the sector and its members are allowed to export and trade nuclear technologies. The membership will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector. Modi is likely to raise the issue with the leadership of Mexico, another key member of the NSG.
The NSG granted an exclusive waiver for India in 2008 to access civil nuclear technology after China reluctantly backed India’s case based on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Modi also raised the issue of black money and tax evasion by Indians who park money in the tax haven. Extending his support and cooperation, Schneider-Amman said his government would send a state secretary for international financial matters to India on June 14 to explore and enhance cooperation on the issue. “Combating the menace of black money and tax evasion is also our shared priority. We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Information would be important in this respect,” Modi said. Indian officials are probing several cases of black money being stashed abroad.
Combating the menace of black money and tax evasion is also our shared priority. We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders Narendra Modi, Prime Minister
India, Swiss to work closely on black money
The Indian and Swiss delegations discussed financial policy matters, including corruption and black money parked in the country. “Switzerland and India stressed their shared resolve to take action against tax fraud avoidance and underlined high quality cooperation in this area,” said a statement from Geneva. A senior Swiss official will visit India later this month to begin the joint action on the issue of black money.