Foreign Secretary, S. Jaishankar with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi before a meeting in Beijing on Wednesday. (Photo: PTI)
Beijing: China is open to India joining the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), said Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Wednesday after holding strategic dialogue discussions with his Chinese counterpart.
Jaishankar said, “China said it had an open approach on India’s membership, but that there were issues of procedures and processes, which they felt needed further clarification and discussions. So, they were not in a position to bring it to a finite conclusion. At the same time, they maintained they had an open mind about India’s application.”
He said that the NSG membership was one of the key aspects of the dialogue with Executive Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui and State Counsellor Yang Jiechi.
Last month, New Delhi had taken umbrage over Beijing suggesting that outgoing US President Barack Obama was trying to give membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to India as a “parting gift” because of its outstanding non-proliferation record.
The spokesman of the Indian External Affairs Ministry, Vikas Swarup, had then said, “India is not seeking NSG membership as a gift. India is seeking it on its non-proliferation record.”
In an obvious reference to Pakistan, which is also seeking NSG membership with China’s backing, Swarup said, “I, of course, cannot speak for other applicants,” raising concerns over Islamabad’s questionable non-proliferation record.
China has repeatedly blocked India’s MSG membership bid despite support from the majority of NSG members, on the grounds that New Delhi hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT).
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.