Australia favours India entry into tech control regimes

New Delhi: Supporting India`s entry into international technology control regimes, Australia today praised its non-proliferation track record and said the next logical step for it will be to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Delivering a talk on Australia-India relations at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here, Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese noted that India has been playing an important role in Asian continent.

"If India is able to demonstrate that it can comply with rules and regulations of the systems in place to manage effective systems of export control…. If India is able to do that, I don`t see any reason why India ought not be admitted to all of those groups," Varghese said. India`s nuclear capacity is now a fact of life and Australia accepted that it now occupied a unique position in relation to non-proliferation regime, he said, adding that "it is a logical next step for India to be a part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)."

Replying to a question on whether Australia would support India`s entry to international regimes, he said, "In principle, we would look at India`s application very favourably." Stating that India is not a country with proliferation concerns, Varghese said Australia would like to see India as a part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in an ideal world.

"India has a very good track record of non-proliferation. We are entirely comfortable with NSG exemption to India," he said. Varghese further pointed out that the present Australian government has agreed to supply uranium to India, "revisiting and sensibly changing the earlier government`s position". India has maintained that it cannot be the target of regime based restrictions and has pitched for full membership of export control entities, including the NSG.

Foreign Secretary Rajan Mathai had last month expressed confidence that India can fulfil the requirement of the export control regimes-Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. India`s partnership of the four regimes will be mutually beneficial on grounds of common non-proliferation objectives, he had said.

Varghese observed that Australia`s relations with India has the capacity to develop into a "real strategic partnership" as interests of both the two countries are converging in the evolving geostrategic environment of Asia. "Over this century, we can expect India to become a more important player in the security of Asia. Today, it makes more sense to think of the Indo Pacific, rather than the Asia Pacific, as the crucible of Australian security," he said. On Australian interest in Asia, the High Commissioner said that it is best served by a stable balance of power in the continent, which favours open societies, encourages economic integration and is inclusive in membership and looks outward.

"Our strongest partner in securing these objectives is the US with whom we share both interests and values. This intersection of interests and values is also true of our relationships with Japan, India, Indonesia and Korea," he said. India;s geographical location connecting the Indian and Pacific Oceans also underlines the role it will play in the maritime environment and this is likely to play role in Australian future strategic and defence planning, Varghese added.

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