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India’s NSG bid: China in touch with Russia, but Beijing’s stand still unchanged

China’s admission came a day after Sushma Swaraj said that India is engaging with Moscow and making efforts to convince Beijing on Delhi’s NSG membership.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2017 22:38 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
India China ties,Nuclear Suppliers' Group,Sushma Swaraj
India has locked horns with China, which has opposed New Delhi’s inclusion in the NSG. (Arvind Yadav/HT File Photo)

China on Tuesday said it will stick to its “two-step approach” for admitting non- NPT countries such as India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) while declining to comment on New Delhi’s efforts to urge Moscow to convince Beijing about its bid to join the bloc.

“Since Russia and China share good relations, it should talk to China. We are not asking them to put pressure on China, but use its good offices,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told a news briefing on Monday about how India planned to get into the 48-member group that controls trade in nuclear know-how.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying did not make a direct reference to Swaraj’s statement but reiterated China’s stand on the admission of countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“The application for accession by non-NPT countries is a multilateral question and should be addressed on the basis of consensus of the NSG members. China and other members, including Russia, maintain close communication and we also maintain that we should act in accordance with the principles of the NSG,” Hua said.

She explained the “two-step approach”, which China proposed last year.

“We have stressed our position many times on this issue. Our position remains unchanged. We support in principle the consensus, transparent and open intergovernmental (resolution of the) problem through the two-step method,” she said.

“First, to reach a non-discriminatory resolution that applies to all non-NPT countries and then to discuss the applications of each non-NPT country. At the plenary session in Bern, China wishes to conduct constructive discussion.”

On Monday, China’s assistant foreign minister Li Huilai said the NSG was “more complicated than we previously imagined”.

China wants the NSG to have “thorough consultations for a non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution to all the countries”, Li said days ahead of a possible meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Astana on June 8 and 9.

“China is willing to work with the Indian side to deepen political trust, expand win-win cooperation, and contribute to regional stability, world peace, and development,” he said.

The NSG issue is expected to be among the top talking points if Modi and Xi meet in Astana. India and Pakistan will formally join the SCO at the summit.

First Published: Jun 06, 2017 15:58 IST