NEW DELHI: China is not opposed to a US-backed Indian bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the main club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday, days after Indian External Affairs secretary S Jaishankar visited Beijing to discuss India’s bid.
Speaking at a news conference in New Delhi, Swaraj said that Beijing was only focused on the criteria procedure to India’s membership to the elite nuclear club.
Last week, Pakistan’s long-time regional ally China said more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries could join the NSG.
China has long been seen as leading opposition to the US move to include India in the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), but diplomats say other countries, including New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Austria also oppose Indian membership.
The NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms.
According to Indian media reports, Swaraj said at the news conference today that India was hoping to convince China to give its backing to the South Asian nation for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which works under principle of unanimity where a single country’s vote could scuttle the Indian bid.
Swaraj, however, said India was confident of getting membership this year.
“China is not opposing membership of India in NSG. It is only talking of criteria and procedure. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG,” she was quoted as saying by the Hindu newspaper.
“I think that there is a consensus which is being made and I am sure that India will become the member of the NSG this year,” she said.
“I am myself in contact with 23 nations, one or two raised concern but think consensus is there,” she said, arguing that India’s credentials for entry should be discussed instead of talking about criteria.
India not to oppose Pakistan membership
Pakistan has itself also formally applied for membership of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group and has been making diplomatic efforts to muster support for its NSG application.
Pakistan has been reaching out to diplomats of different countries for their support, and emphasizing on the importance of a non-discriminatory approach on NSG expansion to states that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Speaking about Pakistan’s NSG bid, Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj said that India, being a non-member of the NSG, could not comment on its entry and role.
“But we will not oppose entry of any nation to the NSG. We think that the application of each country should be considered on the basis of their merit,” she said.