China to oppose India's Nuclear Suppliers Group entry
China: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the 9th BRICS Summit, in Xiamen, China on Sept 5, 2017. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

Despite Russia`s promise to persuade China to let India become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Beijing said its stance on the issue remained unchanged.

China, which opposes India’s entry into the 48-member grouping, reiterated its earlier stance.

Even as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow was trying to persuade China to let India enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Beijing said its stance on the issue remained unchanged. Ryabkov on Wednesday said Russia was in touch with China over India’s application for New Delhi’s entry into the NSG.

Ryabkov, who spoke in New Delhi, also said India’s case cannot be compared to Pakistan’s.

Reacting to his statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing won’t change its mind on India’s entry.

“China’s position on this issue remains unchanged. China supports the group NSG to follow the principle of consensus through consultation and follow fair and transparent intergovernmental process to deal with the issue,” spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

“Now all the members of the group support the two-step approach. First is to find a non-discriminatory solution that applies to all non-NPT (Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) contracting countries and then, on this basis, discuss the application of the non-NPT contracting countries,” Geng said.

China says it is opposed to Indian’s entry into the bloc because it has not signed the NPT. It has also argued that if India could be allowed to join the NSG, then why not Pakistan which applied for membership right after New Delhi sent its application.

Except for China, almost all members of the NSG have backed India’s entry into the club due to its clean nuclear record.

“The focus is on some non-NPT contracting countries hoping to join the group in the capacity of a nuclear weapons-free country and at the same time they will not sign the CSA (Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement) with the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Geng said.

“The third article of NPT says that the nuclear weapon free countries must sign CSA. At the same time, NPT and relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council also say that non-NPT contracting countries are not nuclear weapon owned countries.

“I hope we can find a solution that is accepted by all relevant parties and uphold the international non-proliferation regime with NPT as the cornerstone.”

Asked whether the issue will figure in the Russia, India, China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in Delhi on December 11, Geng said that the meeting will focus on pragmatic cooperation. At the same time they will exchange views on international issues of common concern.