China’s opposition to India’s bid to join Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) took a more strident tone on Tuesday with its official media saying that it would “jeopardise” China’s national interests besides touching a “raw nerve” in Pakistan. The reaction came amid officials in New Delhi striving hard to downplay Chinese opposition to India becoming a member of the elite 48-nation NSG grouping.
In an official statement on Sunday, the Chinese administration said that members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and called for full discussions.
“The US and some NSG members have given a push to India’s membership bid, but the reported opposition from most countries, especially China, seems to have irritated India,” an op-ed commentary in state-run Global Times, the first write-up on the issue, said on Tuesday.
The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. The group works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.
The commentary further noted that India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region, keep alert to each other’s nuclear capabilities.
“India’s application for NSG membership and its potential consequences will inevitably touch a raw nerve in Pakistan, its traditional rival in the region,” it said.
“As Pakistan is not willing to see an enlarging gap in nuclear power with India, a nuclear race is a likely outcome. This will not only paralyse regional security, but also jeopardise China’s national interests,” the piece read.
China, on its part, has maintained that non-NPT signatories should not be admitted into NSG on the grounds that it would undermine efforts to prevent proliferation.
Earlier, US along with Mexico and Switzerland backed India’s bid for the NSG seat. Reports from Vienna where the NSG is based said that while majority of the 48-member group backed India’s membership, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria were opposed to India’s admission.