National

NSG: India ‘optimistic’, but China says issue not on Seoul meet agenda

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Vikas Swarup

nuclear

Prime Minister may lobby with Chinese President during a meeting in Tashkent this week

India remained “optimistic” on it being admitted to the exclusive 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) even as China on Monday said the membership of non-NPT countries is not on the agenda of the group’s annual meeting to be held on June 24 in Seoul.

“We remain optimistic on the (NSG) issue. However, the NSG plenary meeting, where this issue is coming up, is yet to take place,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), reacting to the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement.

India’s application to enter the NSG is not on the agenda and the member-countries of NSG, which controls nuclear commerce, are divided on this particular issue, a statement from China said.

“As we understand the annual conference in Seoul this year also has no such topic. We understand that non-NPT countries are concerned about their entry into the NSG. But since NSG is still divided on the issue, it is still not mature to talk about the entry issue in the annual conference in Seoul, said Hua Chunying, spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China.

Hua also said as the NSG has not yet firmed up its decision on whether or not to allow non-NPT members into the grouping, all members will hold a “thorough discussion”: on the entry of non-NPT members during the Seoul meet.

“I want to point out that the NSG agenda has never covered any issue concerning non-NPT countries joining the NSG,” she added.

Interestingly, this comes a day after India asserted that it is “hopeful” of China’s support for its membership at the NSG.

On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had indirectly asked China to consider the criterion based on which India got waiver from the NSG since it is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had also visited China last week in an effort to persuade Beijing to allow India and thereby build a consensus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to lobby with Chinese President Xi Jinping when he meets him on the sidelines of the SCO Summit at Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23.

Published on June 20, 2016

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