India cautioned China on Sunday over its resistance to New Delhi’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), saying the neighbouring country’s defiant stand could reflect on the bilateral dialogue process.
The warning came on a day when diplomatic sources indicated that the 48-member group might meet again in December to consider the entry of nations such as India, which have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“We will keep impressing upon China that mutual accommodation of interests, concerns and priorities is necessary to move forward bilateral ties,” foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
The December special session that Mexico suggested was opposed by China, which has been upholding the signing of the NPT arms control pact sacrosanct for new nations to enter the NSG that controls global nuclear trade and technology. Normally, the NSG would have met next year.
New Delhi launched a spirited campaign but failed to make the cut at the NSG plenary that concluded in Seoul on Friday in the face of stiff opposition from China and a few other countries.
“There are some processes which take longer, I’d evaluate the NSG membership process in that category,” Swarup said.
India is not a signatory to the NPT, which it says is biased. The NPT recognises only the US, Russia, the UK, France and China as nuclear weapon states.
President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico had assured support for India’s efforts to join the NSG when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Latin American country on June 9.
A panel for informal consultations on India’s membership has been set up by the NSG and it will be headed by Argentine ambassador Rafael Grossi.
Grossi’s appointment came even as a top US official said the NSG session in Seoul had ended with a “path forward” for India’s acceptance as a member.
China was unrelenting in blocking India’s bid. Modi even sought the support of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit that coincided with the two-day NSG meeting.
China also clubbed India’s entry with that of its all-weather friend Pakistan, which, too, is a non-NPT country. Pakistan submitted its NSG application within days of India sending its request.
India hopes that the NSG membership will allow it access to latest nuclear technology and global markets. Energy-starved India has set for itself an ambitious goal of sourcing 40% of its power from non-fossil sources and is relying heavily on nuclear energy to meet the target.
(With inputs from agencies)