New Delhi: India’s hopes for entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) suffered a setback as the meeting in Seoul ended on Friday with no decision on India’s entry into the nuke club. Ahead of the discussions, China’s top negotiator told reporters that the country “won’t back India or Pakistan” until Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) rules are followed.
- Ambassador Wang Qun, Director General, arms control division at the Chinese Foreign ministry said: “The NSG won’t discuss Indian membership yet. Many differences are there on admitting non-NPT members.” He called it a matter of principle.
- China’s statement followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jingping on the sidelines of a multilateral summit in Tashkent on Thursday.
- Requesting a “fair and objective assessment” of India’s bid, PM Modi had said New Delhi’s case should be judged on its own merits and that China should contribute to an emerging consensus in Seoul.
- Sources say Switzerland has also raised objections to the process of including non-NPT states like India. It was one of the countries that had supported India after PM Modi’s visit.
- Assuring India support, Brazil said it wants discussion on “process” and “rules” side by side.
- NDTV reported last night that Brazil, Austria and Ireland have also raised concerns on the “processes” and questioned how a non-NPT signatory can be admitted to the NSG, which controls access to nuclear technology.
- About 300 participants from 48 member countries attended the meeting in Seoul.
- China has been unrelenting in its opposition, harping on the need to have a criteria for non-NPT countries like India and clubbing India’s case with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
- India wants to become a member of the NSG to get better access to low-cost, clean nuclear energy crucial to its economic growth.
- The NSG works on unanimity and even one opposing vote can mean the rejection of India’s membership.