Discussions around India’s membership into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was not on the agenda in the NSG meeting, held in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan on June 2021, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
Beijing also declined to provide a timeline for member-states to reach a “consensus” to include non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) members into the fold.
“The agenda for the 2019 plenary of the NSG taking place in Kazakhstan will include technical, legal and political aspects of the admission of non-NPT states to the NSG,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in Beijing.
“Specific admission of non-NPT states to the grouping will not be discussed at the plenary until a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT states is reached.”
Lu said: “Let me reiterate, as we have stated in NSG plenary and working group discussions, the position by China and many other NSG members is not against any particular country. Rather, it is about NSG rules and multilateral principles. Our objective is very clear: that is, to uphold the authority and solemnity of the NPT, the cornerstone of multilateral arms control and non-proliferation.”
While India applied for a membership to the NSG in May 2016, China has repeatedly insisted that only countries that have signed the NPT should be allowed to enter the organisation.
Both India and Pakistan are not signatories of the NPT. The NSG’s plenary meeting was held in Nur-Sultan.
Lu said, “According to the agenda, member-countries will continue to discuss the issue of technical, legal and political aspects of the admission of non-NPT states to NSG. Before reaching a non-discriminatory plan acceptable to all NPT non-parties, the plenary meeting will not be discussing the entry of any specific NPT non-party. So there is no blocking of India.”
Addressing the media, Lu said: “China’s position on NSG expansion is consistent and clear. We believe all countries need to follow NSG rules, uphold the authority and solemnity of the NPT and seek a non-discriminatory solution acceptable to all based on full consultation.”
Lu said China is not blocking India’s entry into the NSG but reiterated that rules and procedures should be followed.
In response to a question on India’s assertion that a majority of NSG members endorsed its membership while China opposed it, Lu said: “You mentioned India’s assertion, but I cannot speak on its behalf. I would like to point out that the NSG is a multilateral non-proliferation export control mechanism. As such, it has rules that all members must abide by.”
Further, he said, the NSG’s rule is “consensus-based”.
He said, “Specific issues such as India or other countries’ admission and positions on it should be discussed within the grouping. As a matter of fact, the NSG has been dealing with relevant matters in accordance with its rules,” he said.
Lu also said that admission of new members to a multilateral institution has to be through consensus through thorough consultation. “I need to point out that admission of new members to a multilateral institution has to be on consensus reached through thorough consultation. Nobody could foretell when a decision might be made. Consensus must be reached first through non-discriminatory discussions,” he said.