India seeks Belgium support to enter arms control regimes: President

Brussels, Oct 3 (IANS) Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, visiting here, Thursday appreciated Belgium's consistent diplomatic support to his country and said he hoped this support will continue to enable India to "become a full member of four arms control regimes".

At opening remarks at the delegation level talks with Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo, soon after his ceremonial welcome here at Egmont Palace, Mukherjee noted that India and Belgium cooperate very closely in international institutions and thanked Brussels for support to India's candidature for a permanent seat of an expanded United Nations Security Council.

"I would also like to acknowledge Belgium's upfront support for creating an exception for India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to enable us to enter into international cooperation in the area of civilian nuclear energy," the president said.

"I hope that Belgium will continue its constructive approach and will support us in our efforts to become a full member of the four arms control regimes - Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group," he said.

"A clear public stance by Belgium on this issue would be in line with our excellent cooperation," Mukherjee added.

The president deeply appreciated the support extended by the Belgian government and by the royal family for organisation of Indian cultural festivals. He is inaugurating Friday, jointly with Belgian King Philippe, the Europalia India festival, the largest such Indian festival outside India and an unprecedented exposition of Indian soft power in Europe.

Mukherjee is on a tour of Europe with Belgium as the first stop followed by Turkey over the weekend.

-- Indo-Asian News Service

tb/ab/vt

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