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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

China refuses to back India’s entry into NSG, says matter now ‘more complicated’

China did not elaborate what are the new circumstances and complications.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2017 18:54 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
China has been blocking India’s membership in the 48- nation grouping which controls the nuclear commerce.
China has been blocking India’s membership in the 48- nation grouping which controls the nuclear commerce.(File Photo)

China on Monday said India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had become “more complicated”, effectively ruling out any immediate backing for New Delhi’s application to enter the bloc that controls trade in nuclear technology and know-how.

Beijing’s refusal to back New Delhi’s NSG application has been one of the key reasons for recent strains in bilateral ties. The new description of India’s application by China’s assistant foreign minister Li Huilai came within weeks of New Delhi boycotting the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

Li commented about the NSG issue at a media briefing on Monday morning, 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 during June 8-9.

“About the NSG, it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than we previously imagined. China supports the NSG to have thorough consultations for a non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution to all the countries,” he said.

Li, who was interacting with the media on Xi’s participation in the SCO Summit, did not give details of the “new circumstances” and complications but repeated China’s stand on allowing new members into the NSG.

“China supports the NSG to have consultation for reaching non-discriminatory and universally applicable solution, applicable to all members of the NSG,” he said.

Li echoed what foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said last month, indicating China will not support India’s entry to the NSG at the group’s plenary meeting in June till the bloc evolves a universal formula to accept applications from all countries that haven’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The inclusion of non-NPT countries – such as India and Pakistan – in the NSG should follow a two-step approach – evolving a universal formula for such nations and then taking up each country’s applications, China had said repeatedly.

Hua said in May that China’s position on non-NPT applicants has not changed. The NSG should build consensus on the two-step approach, she added.

Li didn’t confirm a Modi-Xi meeting in the Kazakhstan capital but said both leaders “have had multiple meetings and have agreed on deepening China-India cooperation, and making joint efforts to build an even closer development partnership”.

“China and India are each other’s important neighbours and both are developing rapidly. They are both emerging new market economies and are important forces for upholding world peace and stability. In recent years, relations between both the countries have developed at a quick pace,” Li added.

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

The highlight of the SCO Summit will be the admission of India and Pakistan as new members.

Modi is scheduled to take part in the SCO summit where his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif is also expected to be present.

Li said the six-member grouping will be strengthened by the entry of India and Pakistan and it will extend the group’s reach from Central Asia to South Asia. He said the entry of the two countries will cover three-fifths of Euro Asian continent and will account for half the world’s population.

He also said Iran, which is an observer, had expressed interest to join the SCO and its application will come up for discussion at the Astana summit.

The SCO, comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, acts as a Beijing-dominated security group focussing on Central Asia.

India and Pakistan had observer status along with Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.

Asked about Afghanistan blaming Pakistan’s intelligence agency for recent massive bomb attacks in Kabul, Li said China condemned recent terror attacks in Afghanistan, Britain and Philippines. “China strongly condemns these violent terrorist incidents and in fact we oppose all forms of terrorism,” he said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is also considering a treaty on terrorism.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Jun 05, 2017 13:25 IST

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