As India makes a determined bid to get NSG membership, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said that China was not opposing its entry even as Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made an unannounced visit to Beijing on June 16-17 to secure its support.
Stating that China is talking only about the criteria and procedures to be adopted for membership of the elite 48-nation atomic trading bloc, Swaraj said India was hopeful that it will be able to convince China to give its backing. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India can scuttle its bid.
Swaraj also said that India was confident of getting membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) this year.
“China is not opposing membership of India in NSG, it is only talking of criteria and procedure. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG,” she told a press conference here while highlighting her ministry’s achievements in the last two years.
“I think that there is a consensus which is being made and I am sure that India will become the member of the NSG this year,” she said, adding, “The NSG entry is crucial for India’s energy policy.”
“I’m myself in contact with 23 nations, 1 or 2 raised concern but think consensus is there”, she told the press pack.
Swaraj said that instead of talking about criteria with respect to India’s bid, its credentials should be discussed.
The Minister said as far as entry of Pakistan is concerned, India, being a non-member of the NSG, cannot comment on its entry and its role. “But we will not oppose entry of any nation to the NSG. We think that the application of each country should be considered on the basis of their merit,” she added.
Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing on June 16-17 came a week ahead of the plenary meeting of the NSG scheduled to be held in Seoul on June 24 where India’s membership is likely to be discussed.
“Yes, I can confirm Foreign Secretary visited Beijing on June 16-17 for bilateral consultations with his Chinese counterpart. All major issues, including India’s NSG membership, were discussed,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said
China is believed to be strongly opposing India’s membership at the premier club arguing that it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Earlier this week, China’s official media said India’s NSG membership would “jeopardise” China’s national interests besides touching a “raw nerve” in Pakistan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had said a week back that members of the NSG “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and called for “full discussions”.
India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its membership of the bloc whose members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology.
The US has backed India and asked various NSG members to support New Delhi’s bid.
It is understood that a number of countries including Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.