All eyes were on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent where Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping as India’s bid for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is likely to be decided on Friday. However, reports by the official Chinese news agency remain tight lipped about any conversation between the leaders on the matter.
Common interests far outweigh specific differences between India and China, President Jinping apparently told PM Modi during a 45-minute meeting on the sidelines of the SCO summit on Thursday, Xinhua reported.
“Both sides should deepen practical cooperation,” the agency quoted Xi as saying.
There was however no mention of what Xi told Modi about China’s position on India’s application to join the NSG in the details released in the official statement early on Friday.
The state media report also did not mention the fact that Modi had brought up the topic during the meeting and had urged Xi to support India’s candidature. Modi is learnt to have told Xi that India’s joining the NSG will strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.
China has blocked India’s candidature to the NSG on the grounds that member nations should be limited to those which have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). India has not signed the treaty, and neither has Pakistan, China’s “all weather ally” which has also applied for a NSG membership.
The group, which controls access to nuclear technology, works on consensus and thus requires all 48 of its members to agree on a new country joining the ranks.
India’s candidature has come up at the ongoing annual meeting of the group in Seoul.
Reports say China is increasingly being isolated on the opposition side as other member countries have come out in India’s support. The resistance possibly stems from it wariness that if India is allowed to join the NSG, it will not agree to Pakistan also entering the group.
Though Xinhua parried on the NSG talks, it did report that Xi talked of further developing and strengthening the Sino-India relations.
Referring to President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to China in May, the Chinese president said important consensus had been reached on developing bilateral relations.
“China is ready to work with India to jointly develop a good grasp of the general direction of Sino-Indian relations,” Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.
“Both sides should deepen practical cooperation, strengthen trade, railways, industrial parks, power energy, information technology, environmental protection and other areas of cooperation,” he further said .
As for the SCO summit, Modi apparently thanked China for its help in joining the organisation.
“In recent years, bilateral relations have maintained good momentum... The Indian side is willing to strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields and is in close communication and coordination on international and regional issues, and properly handle relevant issues between the two countries,” Modi said.