China said today that there is no change in its stance on admission of non-NPT states into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), marring India’s chances of entering the 48-member elite club at its crucial meeting next week. “On the issue of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), I can tell you China’s stance on the accession of new members into NSG has not changed,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters. Lu made the remarks while responding to questions about reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin had taken up India’s accession to the NSG with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during their recent meeting at Astana on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
According to reports, the NSG plenary meeting is due to be held next week in the Swiss capital of Bern. The issue has become a major sticking point in bilateral relations between India and China. After India’s application for entry into the elite group which controls the nuclear trade, Pakistan, the all-weather ally of China, too had applied with the tacit backing of Beijing. While India, which is backed by the US and a number of western countries has garnered the support of a majority of the group’s members, China has stuck to its stand that new members should sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India’s entry difficult as the group is guided by the consensus principle. India is not a signatory to the NPT.
After a series of meetings, China has backed a two-step approach which stipulates that the NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward with discussions of specific cases.