The crescendo of noise around India’s bid for entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has come to an abrupt stop. The meeting of the group in Seoul rejected India’s bid in emphatic terms, reiterating that nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) would remain the bedrock of non-proliferation regime and the NSG, effectively ending Pakistan’s bid too. The group hasn’t completely barred the door to the two nation’s entry, but for the time being the question of South Asian entry into the group will have to wait.

In hindsight, there was little chance that a group that makes its decisions by complete consensus would reach a favourable verdict on such a controversial issue. Several countries, such as Brazil, Austria, Belgium and China had publicly voiced opposition. Even with US support any progress seems unlikely. More surprising is the strong - and even bitter - language used by the member on the non-NPT issue. Both countries now need to reassess their policy, as a quick resolution seems unlikely.

This is a bigger problem for the Modi administration than it is for Pakistan. It had drummed up the NSG bid to be an acceptance of India into the global elite, and such a stringent refusal has caused many politicians in India to question Modi’s leadership over this “embarrassing” episode. Meanwhile in Pakistan - which had always presented it’s bid as a question of strategic parity between the South-Asian nations - there seems to be little reaction amongst political parties. Coupled with the fact that on Friday Pakistan became a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) after signing Memorandum of Obligations (MoOs), many in Pakistan would view the overall trade-off a diplomatic success. There have been fair and few of those for Nawaz Sharif.

However, before the clamour over the failed bids get too loud, it must be remembered that loss is only cosmetic. India already has a waiver from the NSG, which was achieved with U.S support in 2008, as well as bilateral nuclear deals with countries like the U.S and France. Practically this arrangement provides most of the benefits an NSG membership would provide for India’s nuclear commerce.

The same is true for Pakistan to an extent; China is building nuclear power plants in Pakistan and providing technical support to the country - an arrangement that the world has come to terms to considering the paucity of criticism.

In the end, Perhaps the NSG saga was a political one more than a strategic one, and its conclusion must be seen in the same light.