Ahead of the NSG plenary, India on Monday asked countries friendly with China to convince it on the issue of allowing New Delhi entry into the grouping based on credentials, even as Beijing asserted that the membership bid has become “more complicated”. India had officially applied for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which controls export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology in May last year.
The matter came up for discussion at the Seoul plenary session of the NSG in June last year, but yielded little result with Beijing scuttling India’s bid on the grounds that it was not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
“We have always engaged with China and we are doing it for NSG as well. And (it is being done) not only by us, but even nations friendly to us as well as enjoying good relations with China, who feel that India should get an NSG membership,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said. Giving Russia’s example, she said Moscow feels that India should be a part of the NSG and UNSC.
“So we feel, since Russia and China share good relations, it should talk to China. We are not asking them to put pressure on China, but use its good offices. Our effort is to convince China on the issue and also involve nations friendly with both the countries,” the minister added.
On China’s objection on inclusion of non-NPT countries, she said France was a non-NPT country when it was admitted into the NSG. When it (China) states that India and Pakistan are non-NPT countries, India makes a distinction that in 2008 it got a privilege (NSG waiver), she said, adding that at that time “our criteria was throughly looked into”. “It were the same required for any non-NPT country. Today, the time is not to see our criteria, but our credentials. We have proven our credentials and fulfilled all the commitments made in 2008. Which is why we are saying India and Pakistan are two different cases,” Swaraj said.
“India will be successful in getting it (NSG membership) one day,” she said. Her remarks came on a day when China asserted that India’s membership bid in the NSG has become “more complicated” under the “new circumstances” and again ruled out backing New Delhi’s entry in the grouping, saying there should be non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT signatory countries. The group, which will be holding its next plenary in Swiss capital Bern soon, goes by consensus approach on the admission of new members.
“About the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than the previously imagined,” China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Huilai told a media briefing in Beijing. He, however, did not elaborate what the new circumstances and complications were. “China supports the NSG to have consultation for reaching non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution, applicable to all members of the NSG,” he said.
Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership. While China has not openly supported Pakistan’s membership, it came with 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. Asked about the chances of India’s admission into the grouping during this month’s plenary session expected to take place in the Swiss capital Bern, Li said, “China’s position on the non-NPT members’ participation in the NSG has not changed.”
Li, who interacted with media to highlight Chinese President Xi Jinping’s participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit to be held at Astana Capital of Kazakhstan on June 8-9, said China wants to deepen relations with India. “China and India are important neighbours and both are fast developing, both are emerging new market economies. Both are important forces upholding peace and stability,” he said.
In recent years, relations between India and China are developing “sound and at quite fast speed”. President Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meetings have agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation and make joint efforts to build even closer development partnership, he said.