July 17, 2011 1:36:43 am
China is learnt to have questioned Indias membership proposal before the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on grounds that an exception should not be made for just one country. In a clear attempt to build a case for Pakistan too,China has told the 46-member grouping that all potential candidates must be considered for membership.
According to details that have emerged from the June 23-24 meeting of the NSG at Noordwijk in the Netherlands,there was fair amount of concern expressed by many members over considering Indias membership given that it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Some countries also urged the US and other countries like France and UK,which were backing Indias case,to reassess the impact this may have on the non-proliferation regime.
However,it was China that took a totally different line and asked for rules of membership to be framed for all potential candidates than make an exception for India. Pakistan and Israel are the only remaining two nuclear-enabled countries that have not signed the NPT and clearly,sources said,the Chinese emphasis was aimed at benefiting Islamabad. In the end,such a move would end up complicating Indias case.
On the other hand,sources pointed out that Beijing has in the past backed a criteria-based approach within the NSG rather than granting country-specific exemptions. To that extent,this is being seen as a somewhat consistent position.
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The US had agreed to pilot Indias membership to the four sensitive technologies export control regimes including the NSG which has the most stringent controls. This commitment was confirmed through the Indo-US joint statement during US President Barack Obamas visit to India.
While the US has circulated a non-paper among member countries and India too has conducted its own outreach effort,the roadblocks could be a quite a few with China making its intention uncharacteristically clear quite early in the process.
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