India’s NSG bid runs into China stonewall again

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Moscow, April 18, 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Moscow, April 18, 2016.
Photo – PTI

A day after Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj sounded an assuring note that China was not opposing India’s entry to elite NSG, the establishment at Beijing maintained that the differences remain. China stressed that the subject about India’s entry to the 48-nation elite club is not even on the agenda of the grouping’s meeting in Seoul this week, as differences remain among NSG members.

While India has off-late been able to garner the support of top players –United States and United Kingdom — along with Switzerland and Mexico in its bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group, it has been all but stonewalled by China.

“We have stressed that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is still divided about non-NPT countries entry into the NSG and under the current circumstances we hope that NSG will make through discussions to make a decision based on consultation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing on Monday.

Hua also added that India’s admission into NSG is not on the agenda of the Seoul meeting of the 48-member elite club to be held on June 24.

“As we understand the annual conference in Seoul this year also has no such topic… I want point out that the NSG agenda has never covered any issue concerning the non-NPT countries joining the NSG,” the spokesperson said.

FILE: Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj talking to the media as she arrived at Islamabad in Pakistan on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary also seen.  Photo - PTI

FILE: Islamabad: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj talking to the media as she arrived at Islamabad in Pakistan on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary also seen.
Photo – PTI

On the other hand, India’s determination was reflected after External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj expressed confidence of getting China’s backing in its NSG bid.

“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,” Swaraj had said on Sunday.

“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 added in her press conference.

Union Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar too had visited China on June 16-17 to secure its support for the NSG.

Maintaining an opposition to India’s membership at the premier club, China has been arguing that India was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Earlier last week, China’s official media had gone on reporting that India’s NSG membership would “jeopardise” China’s national interests besides touching a “raw nerve” in Pakistan.

Besides China, 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.

(With inputs from the PTI)