NEW DELHI: Back from his visits to Washington, Geneva and Mexico City to lobby for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, desperate Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now setting his sights east: asking Russia for help with the countries still holding out, even as he prepares to meet with President Vladmir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the SCO summit later this month.

The outreach is particularly important as China continues to maintain its principled position that “NSG members remain divided” on the issue of membership, claiming that “many countries within the group share China’s stance.”

Officials expect a final decision may not come till the eve of the NSG meeting in South Korea on June 24, when Mr Modi is expected to meet Mr. Xi at the SCO in Tashkent, that is also discussing India and Pakistan’s membership, on 23rd - 24th June.

Analysts say Modi may be hopeful that Russia will use its influence with countries like Kazakhstan and Turkey, who are not yet convinced to back India, and most importantly, as a bridge with China, that has taken a tough position.