China refused to dilute its stand on India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), asserting that New Delhi must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty to gain entry as there is no precedent for the inclusion of non-NPT countries, PTI reported.
China has been opposing India’s entry into the 48-member NSG on the ground that India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though the other P5 members, including the US and Russia backed its case based on New Delhi’s non-proliferation record. China, France, Russia, Britain and the US – the permanent members of the UNSC also known as P5 countries – have concluded their two meetings here to discuss issues related to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
Briefing the media on the outcome of the conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang Thursday said at the end of the successful conference the member countries reached an important consensus to jointly uphold the responsibilities for international peace and security. “We will uphold the NPT mechanism. We underscore its importance as the cornerstone of international non-proliferation system and also an important component of international security.
The NSG is the top club of countries which controls access to technology and guards against proliferation. Its membership is important for India to access cutting-edge high technology.
China has sought to club India and Pakistan together, on the basis of both being non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has asked the NSG countries to adopt a “criteria-based approach” — which essentially means that either both can get into the group or none. But most of the NSG countries, including the US, France and UK, make a clear distinction between India and Pakistan’s nuclear non-proliferation track record.
While New Delhi points to its clean track record on non-proliferation, many — including the American and French interlocutors — have pointed out how Pakistan’s nuclear programme, led by A Q Khan, violated all norms of nuclear non-proliferation and had links with the North Korean nuclear programme.
In April last year, India had once again reached out to China and tried to convince the interlocutors in Beijing to lift their objections at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
“We promise to enforce the NPT fully and comprehensively and gradually realise our goal of a nuclear weapon free world and do our best to solve the nuclear non-proliferation issues through political and diplomatic means for the peaceful use of nuclear energy and international cooperation,” he said.
Asked whether the issues related to India’s application to enter into the NSG figured in the meeting, Geng said “the P5 countries are committed to uphold the NPT mechanism, recognise that it is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation system”. “For the full and comprehensive implementation of the NPT we will do our best to resolve the non-proliferation issues through the diplomatic means for the peaceful use of the nuclear energy,” he said.
To another question on whether China which has been calling for a two-step formula to admit new members into the NSG has been changed, he said, “we call on the all the countries to join the treaty as non-nuclear weapons states as soon as possible is our position”. “But what you said (India’s application to join the NSG) there hasn’t been any precedent. What we suggested (was) patient negations with the mechanism members to solve this problem through consultations,” he said.
(Inputs from PTI)