- India applied for membership to the NSG last month
- Seat in NSG essential to meet climate change commitments
- Switzerland, Mexico oppose India's membership
What was initially meant to be a three-nation tour to Afghanistan, Qatar and the US was stretched to include Switzerland and Mexico as well. Both countries have opposed India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG.
The aggressive diplomacy is PM Modi's trademark style, but this visit also comes as the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group holds an extraordinary session in Vienna on June 9 to discuss new membership applications.
"What happened was that the visit schedules came together. The Swiss visit arose from a meeting that the Prime Minister had with the Swiss president on sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit. The Mexican tour has been on our minds since September," said foreign secretary S Jaishankar.
Delhi's argument for membership is that it would ensure access to technology so that India can meet its climate change commitments with clean energy and stability and the ease of doing business, irrespective of the political dispensation.
"We have been telling the world that a growing economy like India needs more energy and for clean energy this is important. Earlier, we would make this a broad argument. Today, we specifically put numbers," Mr Jaishankar said.
India, which is expanding its nuclear energy programme and has already received a waiver from the group in 2008 for the landmark Indo-US Nuclear Deal, had applied for membership to the NSG last month.
Pakistan, backed by China, applied a week later.
Prime Minister Modi's push to get India a seat at the members table is backed by US President Barack Obama and his travels are timed to ensure India's case as a responsible nuclear state is heard by some of its harshest critics.
But there are substantive issues beyond NSG to be discussed during the Prime Minister's visit to Switzerland that makes it one of the highlights of his tour. He is expected to discuss an agreement on automatic exchange of tax information which will help curb the incidence of black money stashed away in Swiss banks.
Detecting and bringing back black money was one of the key promises of PM Modi's party, the BJP, in the 2014 general elections.
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