Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bilateral meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23, 2016. India’s bid for NSG membership was scuttled by China despite backing from many other countries including the US.(PIB Photo)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bilateral meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23, 2016. India’s bid for NSG membership was scuttled by China despite backing from many other countries including the US.(PIB Photo)

India spoilt, smug; Beijing is right to oppose NSG bid: Chinese media

India is spoiled, smug and self-righteous, and China was morally right to oppose its bid to join the elite club of nations controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, the Chinese media said on Tuesday.
By Sutirtho Patranobis | Hindustan Times, Beijing
UPDATED ON JUN 28, 2016 09:21 PM IST

India is spoilt, smug and self-righteous, and China was morally right to oppose its bid to join the club of nations controlling access to nuclear technology, the Chinese media said on Tuesday even as the foreign office insisted bilateral ties were in a “generally good state”.

India’s application to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was dictated not by international principles but national interest, said a scathing editorial in the influential tabloid, the Global Times.

The NSG application, it said, was propped up by the US as part of efforts to contain China but that did not mean the rest of the world was with India.

Though “Indian nationalists” think their country is a major power, they are not aware of how to play the power game in international diplomacy, the editorial said in a stinging critique.

The foreign office, however, sought to portray a rosier picture despite differences between the two sides over the NSG application. Spokesperson Hong Lei told a news briefing: “China-India relationship is in a generally good state. Common interests between the two countries far outweigh their differences.”

Hong said China will work with India to “steer the bilateral relations and deepen cooperation in different fields”. He added: “As for problems in the bilateral relations, the Chinese side will stay in communication and dialogue with the Indian side to find a fair, sensible and mutually acceptable solution.”

He also referred to India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and said, “We have noted that some of the multilateral export control regimes have changed in one way or another. With that in mind, China is assessing the effectiveness of the MTCR in safeguarding the international non-proliferation regime.”

China played a key role in blocking India’s bid to join the NSG at the group’s plenary meeting in Seoul last week. Experts believed it was largely acting at the behest of its “all-weather ally” Pakistan when it yoked the application to the NPT. Both India and Pakistan haven’t signed the NPT.

An upset India, without naming China, had said there was only one country which persistently raised procedural hurdles at the Seoul meet.

The Global Times editorial said signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is mandatory for joining the NSG but India is not willing to play by the rules.

It said: “India is not a signatory to the NPT, but is the most active applicant to join the NSG. Before the Seoul meeting, the Indian media played up the prospects of its bid. Some even claim that among the 48 members of the NSG, 47 have given it a green light, except China.”

The editorial added, “US backing adds the biggest impetus to India’s ambition. By cozying up to India, Washington’s India policy actually serves the purpose of containing China. The US is not the whole world. Its endorsement does not mean India has won the backing of the world. This basic fact, however, has been ignored by India.” 

Read| China’s U-turn on India’s NSG bid: There’s always room for discussion

It further said, “Since its foundation in 1975, all NSG members shall be NPT signatories. This has become the primary principle of the organisation. Now India wants to be the first exception to join the NSG without signing the NPT. It is morally legitimate for China and other members to upset India’s proposal in defence of principles.”

The editorial said accusations by some Indians in the aftermath of the Seoul meeting “do not make any sense”. It added, “China’s action is based on international norms, but India’s reaction seems to indicate that their national interests can override principles recognised by the world.”

The editorial reminded India that its GDP is merely 20% that of China’s. “Recent years have seen the Western world giving too many thumbs up to India, but thumbs down to China. India is spoiled (sic),” it said.

“Although the South Asian country’s GDP accounts for only 20% of that of China, it is still a golden boy in the eyes of the West, having a competitive edge and more potential compared to China. The international ‘adulation’ of India makes the country a bit smug in international affairs.”

The editorial said Indians do not know how to behave on the world stage.

“On Monday, the Missile Technology Control Regime absorbed India as a new member, and denied China’s access. The news didn’t even make a ripple among the Chinese public. The Chinese have become more mature in dealing with these setbacks caused by international relations. India’s nationalists should learn how to behave themselves. Now that they wish their country could be a major power, they should know how major powers play their games.”

The editorial, however, did have a soft word for the Indian government.

“Some Indians are too self-centered and self-righteous. On the contrary, the Indian government behaves decently and is willing to communicate. Throwing a tantrum won’t be an option for New Delhi.”  

Read| India pins hopes on year-end NSG meet, says China ties linked to bid

The Global Times newspaper is linked to the Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, and has a history of publishing anti-India editorials and opinion pieces.

Last year, before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival in China, it published an opinion piece that had called Indians “inferior”.

Modi, the opinion piece had said, had been “playing little tricks over border disputes and security issues, hoping to boost his domestic prestige while increasing his leverage in negotiations with China”.

The ordinary people of India were no better, it went on. “Due to the Indian elites’ blind arrogance and confidence in their democracy, and the inferiority of its ordinary people, very few Indians are able to treat Sino-Indian relations accurately, objectively and rationally.”

Read| Not aware of follow-up plan on India’s NSG application: China

Read| India’s NSG attempt was well worth the risk

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