Mexico City: India on Thursday secured Mexico's backing in its bid to become member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as it aggressively scouted for support ahead of a crucial meeting of the 48-nation nuclear trading bloc in Vienna.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced his country's support to India's membership for the elite NSG after holding wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a major focus on further deepening cooperation in a range of areas including trade and investment, information technology, energy and space.
"Mexico recognises India's bid to be part of the NSG. As a country, we are going to be positively and constructively supporting India's request in recognition of the commitment by Prime Minister Modi to the international agenda of disarmament and non proliferation of nuclear weapons," Nieto said at a joint media interaction with Modi.
On his part, the Prime Minister thanked the Mexican President for his country's support and called Mexico an important partner for India's energy security.
He said both the countries have agreed to work and develop a "roadmap of concrete outcomes" to upgrade ties to a strategic partnership.
He added: "We both feel that our growing convergence on international issues allows us to join our capacities to strengthen international regimes of strategic importance. I thank President Pena Nieto for Mexico's positive and constructive support for India's membership of the NSG."
Modi on Monday visited Switzerland, another key member of the NSG, and the European country - known to have strong proliferation concerns - had announced its support to India's candidature at the bloc that looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology.
Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.
A meeting of the NSG later on Thursday in Vienna is scheduled to discuss India's membership application which will be followed by another meeting on 24 June in Seoul.
India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support to its membership. China has been opposing India's membership at the premier club, arguing that it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The US has been strongly supporting India and asked various NSG members to support New Delhi's bid. The issue had figured prominently during talks between Modi and US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.
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 of the bloc for last few years and had formally moved its application on 12 May. Earlier this week, India cleared all hurdles in getting membership of the the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a key anti-proliferation grouping, as no member country opposed its entry into it.
Membership of the group will help India access high-end missile technology. The NSG had 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.
In their talks, Modi and Nieto deliberated extensively on expanding cooperation in trade and investment.
Complimenting the Mexican President for his reform initiatives, the Prime Minister said he was focusing on reforming India's economic and governance structures, adding that sharing of best practices can benefit both the countries.
"Mexico is an important partner for India's energy security. We are now looking to move beyond a buyer-seller relationship, and into a long-term partnership.
"Information technology, energy, pharmaceuticals, and automotive industries are among key growth areas of our commercial linkages. But, there is potential to expand our commercial and investment, and Science and Technology partnerships in new areas.
"In this regard, President and I agreed to find ways to deepen our cooperation in Space, and science and technology," said Modi.
He said both sides decided to prioritise "concrete projects" in areas of agricultural research, bio-technology, waste management, disaster warning and management, and solar energy.
"I would like to particularly thank President Pena Nieto for his support to the International Solar Alliance. It will transform the global canvas for solar technology, especially for developing and Small Island Developing countries," said the Prime Minister.
Modi also quoted renowned author Octavio Paz.
He said: "Friends, In his book 'In Light of India', the great author Octavio Paz wrote, 'I can understand what it means to be Indian, because I am Mexican'. Of course, it is true the other way too! I believe we have succeeded today in strengthening this mutual understanding further.
"It has been a wonderful visit," he added.
Later, both sides issued a joint statement which said the two leaders recognised the opportunities to define the path of the "India-Mexico Privileged Partnership for the 21st Century" to promote growth of bilateral ties and cooperation in global issues reflecting a broad convergence of long-term political, economic and strategic goals.
They also reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, said the joint statement.
The two leaders pledged to continue promoting the shared goals of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation as solutions with multilateral perspective, as well as to continue promoting cooperation on international security issues.
It said they instructed the Foreign Ministers of both countries to develop a roadmap of the privileged partnership under the framework of the Seventh Mexico-India Joint Commission Meeting to be held in Mexico later this year.
Both sides welcomed with satisfaction the successful conclusion of the Climate Change Conference held in Paris in December 2015 and applauded the signing by both countries of the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016, the joint statement said, adding they committed to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible, as well as to develop new and renewable sources of energy to meet the developmental challenges of their respective countries.
"The two countries will update the bases of cooperation according to a convergent and comprehensive plan, will evaluate the progress made in diverse fields and will set new objectives and themes to strengthen the agenda of bilateral relations," the joint statement said.
Both sides also reaffirmed the importance to have an "effective multilateral system", with the United Nations at its core, and agreed on the importance of continuing to support the progress in the process of comprehensive reforms of the UN Security Council.
It said the two leaders had a detailed exchange of views on the regional issues of mutual interest, including the political and economic developments in Latin America, the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and the Pacific Alliance, as well as the current situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
Modi and Nieto stressed the necessity of developing a greater connectivity between the two countries and encouraging cooperation in various sectors including infrastructure, pharmaceutical, energy, automobile, Information and Communication Technology, agriculture, and food processing among others.
It said the two sides agreed to explore ways and means to boost the objectives of the International Solar Alliance.
The two sides exchanged points of view and welcomed the opportunities offered by the convergence between the National Digital Strategy of Mexico and the Digital India Initiative, which share common objectives, said the joint statement.
It said they welcomed collaboration in space science, earth observation, climate and environmental studies, and the efficient use of space-related resources available in India as well as in Mexico for remote sensing, advance warning for disaster prevention and launch of satellites between the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).
President Nieto cordially invited the Modi to Mexico again on a state visit in the near future. Modi also invited Nieto to pay a state visit to India. "They agreed that suitable dates would be worked out through diplomatic channels," the joint statement said.
The Prime Minister arrived in Mexico City earlier on Thursday from Washington on his last leg of the five-nation tour.