China not protesting India’s NSG bid, says Sushma Swaraj

(From PTI)

As India makes a determined bid to secure membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday that China was not opposing its entry to the club.

 Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar earlier made an unannounced visit to Beijing on June 16-17 to secure China’s support.

Stating that China is talking only about the criteria and procedures to be adopted for membership of the elite 48-nation atomic trading bloc, Swaraj said India was hopeful it will be able to convince China to give its backing.

The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India can scuttle its bid.

Swaraj said India was confident of getting an NSG membership this year.

“The NSG entry is crucial for India’s energy policy …. I’m myself in contact with 23 nations; one or two raised concerns but I think consensus is there,” she said.

Instead of talking about criteria with respect to India’s bid, its credentials should be discussed.

As far as entry of Pakistan is concerned, India, being a non-member of the NSG, cannot comment on its entry and its role.

“But we will not oppose entry of any nation to the NSG. We think that the application of each country should be considered on the basis of their merit,” she added.

 Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing on June 16-17 came a week ahead of the plenary meeting of the NSG scheduled to be held in Seoul on June 24 where India’s membership is likely to be discussed.

China is believed to be strongly opposing India’s membership at the premier club arguing that it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Earlier this week, China’s official media said India’s NSG membership would “jeopardize” China’s national interests besides touching a “raw nerve” in Pakistan. The Chinese foreign ministry said a week back that members of the NSG “remain divided” on the issue of non-NPT countries joining it and called for “full discussions.”

India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its membership of the bloc whose members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology.

The US has backed India and asked various NSG members to support New Delhi’s bid.

It is understood that a number of countries including Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India’s entry into the NSG.

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