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India’s entry to NSG: US backs the bid while China is still reluctant

However, on Tuesday, China has toned down its opposition, stating that the door is still open for the non-NPT members as well

To make sure India’s entry to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a final round of discussion with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in Tashkent. On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, the prime minister will seek the support of China, for an easy walk to the forum that would enhance India’s possibilities of nuclear technology.

While major powers like US and UK have extended their full support for India’s entry to the group, China had raised some opposition since India had not signed in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) yet. However, on Tuesday, China has toned down its opposition, stating that the door is still open for the non-NPT members as well.

“The door is still open within the NSG for non-NPT members to join. There is always room for discussion,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

She made it clear that China is not targeting any country, whether it India or Pakistan and their only concern is non-proliferation treaty. She also stated that the final decision will be taken during plenary.

We never said we are against (any country). We did not target any country, India or Pakistan,” Hua said in a media briefing.

Responding to US’ backing India for membership of the global nuclear trade regulator, Hua said: “I have not seen the US statement supporting India. But US is one of those who made the rule that non-NPT countries should not join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”

Hua said that NPT was the “cornerstone” over admitting countries into the NSG.

She said it was up to the NSG members to decide whether rules for entry into the group needed to be changed.

Meantime, there are many who believe that there is still chance of China raising opposition to Indian entry to the elites’ group, for more than one reason. The prime among them is the mounting pressure from its ‘friend’ Pakistan.

The other main aspect is the fact that India will achieve parity with it which will affect its emergence as the Asian power, against US.

This time, India’s arch-rival Pakistan has also come up with an application for entry to the NSG, where many among 48 members of the forum refuse to grant it the membership for its poor performance in maintaining internal peace and curbing terrorism. Earlier, Pakistan foreign policy advisor Sartaj Aziz has stated that Islamabad is more likely to achieve the membership as its credentials to get a seat in the body is much higher than India’s.

While both the India and Pakistan are not members of NPT, the chances that the applications of the both getting rejected are also high.

According to the sources,  this time, India is leaving no stone unturned to make it happen to the forum as the prime minister and external affairs minister held multiple rounds of discussion with many countries regarding its NSG entry.  The New Delhi has also sent Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to China last week for a secret meeting with Chinese authorities.

Meantime, as a major solace to India, The US has assured that it will continue to urge all 48 member of NSG to support India’s bid to enter the group.

“We continue to call on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application at the plenary session in Seoul,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said.

He also said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought the support of US President Barack Obama for the cause, during his visit to Washington this month.

“President Barack Obama welcomed India’s application to join the NSG and reaffirmed that India is ready for membership. And nothing’s changed about our position,” he said.

“We continue to call on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application at the plenary session in Seoul,” Kirby added.

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