India’s NSG bid: China thwarts decision in Seoul meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The plenary meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) ended at Seoul on Friday with no decision on India’s membership bid as divisions persisted over admitting non-NPT members with China leading the opposition to it.

China’s stand that India’s membership application cannot be considered because it has not signed the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was backed by nearly 10 other countries which effectively torpedoed India’s bid although it had the strong backing of the US, the UK, France and a majority of countries in the nuclear trading group.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SCO meeting in Tashkent. PM Modi tried to convince China to take a fair view and support India's application to join NSG as a regular member.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the SCO meeting in Tashkent. PM Modi tried to convince China to take a fair view and support India’s application to join NSG as a regular member.

Earlier, the chief Chinese negotiator, Wang Qun continued to vehemently oppose India’s membership of NSG. Wang, Director General of China’s Department of Arms Control, told reporters that there was no consensus on the NSG membership of non-NPT countries like India.

He insisted that for a country to be a member of NSG, signing of the NPT “is a must”. This rule has not been set by China but by the international community, he added.

Wang warned “if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non-proliferation will collapse altogether”.

Asked about reports that Beijing was blocking India’s membership, he said the NSG has so far not agreed to any agenda item on participation of non-NPT countries. Therefore, there was no point of China supporting or opposing India’s membership.

The anti-India stand taken by China again today clearly shows that Chinese President Xi Jinping has not responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgings in Tashkent on Thursday that Beijing should support India’s case.

Seeking China’s support for India’s membership, Modi had urged Xi to make a “fair and objective” assessment of India’s application which is before the Seoul plenary as the two leaders met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.

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