China has once again said there is no change in its stance on India’s admission into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on Friday. NSG meeting is currently underway in Switzerland’s capital Bern. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, as quoted by news agency PTI, told a media gathering: “As for non-NPT countries being admitted to the group, I can tell you there is no change to China’s position.”
Shuang was responding to a question whether there is any change in China’s stand at the plenary meeting in Bern. He further added that: “I want to point out that the NSG has clear rules on admission of new members and the Seoul plenary made clear mandates on how to deal with this issue. With these rules and mandates, we need to act as they dictate.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said they will follow mandate of the Seoul plenary with regards to admitting new members: “As for the criteria regarding admitting new members, as far as I know this plenary meeting in Switzerland will follow mandate of the Seoul plenary and uphold principle of decision upon consensus and continue to discuss various dimensions like technology, law, legal and political aspects of non-NPT countries admission the group.”
China’s has repeatedly stonewalled India’s admission in the NSG, a move that has become a major stumbling block in bilateral relations between the two countries. After India sent its application for entry into the 48-member elite group, China’s ally Pakistan too had applied with the tacit backing of Beijing.
Even though India has the backing of the US and a number of other western countries, China has refused to budge from its earlier stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India’s entry difficult as the group is guided by the consensus principle. India is not a signatory to the NPT.
After numerous meetings, China has backed a two-step approach which stipulates that the NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward with discussions of specific cases.
The meeting at Bern is quite significant for India as it’s taking place after Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly took up India’s cause to NSG with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their recent meeting at Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.