Beijing said on Monday there was no change in its stand on blocking New Delhi’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), days before members of the elite club gather in Vienna for a crucial meeting.
China is among the countries that stopped India from becoming a member of the 48-member NSG, which controls trade in nuclear technology, saying countries that haven’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) cannot be allowed into the group – not at least till the rules are amended through consensus.
“This Friday in Vienna, a plenary session of the NSG will be held. Our position is subject to no change as of date,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a regular news briefing on Monday.
China and a few other countries such as Austria, South Africa and New Zealand had blocked India’s entry to the NSG at its Seoul meeting in June.
Referring to a meeting between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and state councillor Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad last Friday, Lu said China was in close contact with “relevant parties”, including India, and has been having constructive dialogue and coordination on the issue.
“They also discussed issues that have cropped up in bilateral relations. They agreed to maintain contact and control and manage relevant issues to ensure steady development of bilateral relations,” Lu said.
Last week, Beijing had again proposed a “two-step” approach – first find a universal way to allow non-NPT countries to become NSG members, and then discuss country-specific applications.
That was after the second round of talks on the NSG issue between Amandeep Singh Gill, joint secretary for disarmament and international security in the external affairs ministry, and Wang Qun, director general of the department of arms control, in Beijing on October 31. The first round of discussions was held in New Delhi in September.
“The talks were substantive and constructive. The engagement will continue as per the directive of the leadership,” a source said after last week’s talks.
A statement issued by Beijing on September 13 had said that China “supports the notion of two-step approach within the (NSG) to address the above question, ie, at the first stage, to explore and reach agreement on a non-discriminatory formula applicable to all the non-NPT states, and to proceed to take up country-specific membership issues at the second stage”.