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Will block India’s NSG bid, Masood Azhar ban push until consensus, says China

China said on Friday it will continue to block India’s efforts to ban Pakistan-based militant Masood Azhar and New Delhi’s application to join the influential Nuclear Suppliers Group until a consensus emerged on both issues.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2016 01:52 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
India-China ties,India's NSG bid,Masood Azhar
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.(PTI File Photo)

China said on Friday it will continue to block India’s efforts to ban Pakistan-based militant Masood Azhar and New Delhi’s application to join the influential Nuclear Suppliers Group until a consensus emerged on both issues.

A day before Chinese President Xi Jinping reaches Goa for the 8th Brics summit, the ministry of foreign affairs (MFA) said there were “differing” views among members of the United Nations Security Council on listing Azhar -- who heads the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad -- as a “terrorist”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Xi on the sidelines of the summit.

“I have stated China’s position. I would like to reiterate that the UN committee dealing with the listing does it according to provisions of the UN charter. We maintain that this committee should work on true facts and make a decision according to consensus of its members,” Geng Shuang, MFA spokesperson said at a regular press conference on Friday.

“All parties are divided in listing of the relevant people. And this is why China has put on hold (the banning of Azhar),” Geng said.

“This will give enough time to make the listing decision and also shows the responsible and professional attitude of the Chinese side,” he added.

Read | Modi, Xi to discuss bilateral ties hit by NSG issue, Masood Azhar ban push

China extended the “technical hold” or used its UNSC veto against Azhar’s banning earlier this month – the second time after April.

The MFA had earlier said the application member states submitted to the 1267 Committee of UN “must comply” with specific requirements of relevant resolutions of UNSC.

Shuang also said there was no change in Beijing’s opposition to India’s application to join the 48-nation NSG and access sensitive nuclear technology that can resolve the country’s power woes, for one.

“China’s position has not changed regarding the joining of the NSG by India,” Geng said indicating that it would continue to oppose India’s joining till a consensus emerges on allowing countries who have not signed the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into the group.

India’s bid in June was backed by the United States and France but faltered after China, South Africa, New Zealand and Austria opposed the application. Beijing and its allies say only countries that have signed a global arms control pact – the NPT – will be allowed entry. India refuses to sign the pact because it would mean shutting down the country’s nuclear defence programme.

China’s opposition was seen in India was seen as support for its ally Pakistan, which applied for an NSG membership soon after New Delhi announced its bid.

Read | Where New Delhi’s approach fell short in India’s NSG bid

Earlier this week, vice-foreign minister Li Baodong had said: “When other countries apply for membership, this group will need to examine the application and it would require the approval or agreement through consensus by all members of the group and then to decide whether the new member will be taken on board.”

“These rules cannot be decided by China alone,” Li added.

Geng said he had to “underscore” that in recent years China and India relations had been making “great headway despite some disputes”.

He said that the “mainstream of bilateral relations has been positive” and “cooperation far outweighs competition”.

“Hope the two countries can continue with dialogue and cooperation to exchange views some disputes, seek solutions and properly manage relevant disputes,” Geng said.

“We are willing to work with India to implement the leaders’ consensus, strengthen communication and cooperation and deepen pragmatic cooperation across the board,” Geng said.

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

First Published: Oct 14, 2016 14:41 IST