China today continued to stonewall India’s bid for NSG membership despite a fresh push by the US as the 48-nation grouping remained divided over the entry of a non-NPT signatory country like India.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry sang different tunes, first saying that it was not targeting any country such as India or Pakistan and then taking a swipe at the US for backing India’s case citing the rule that countries which have not signed the NPT should not be allowed into NSG.
The Chinese comments came after the White House said India was “ready” for NSG membership and asked participating governments to support India’s application at the plenary session of NSG in Seoul two days from now.
At the same time, Beijing said the “door is open” for discussions on the issue but then emphasised on whether criteria for memberships should be changed instead of making exceptions. In other words, China is seeking to equate India with its impeccable non-proliferation record with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
Given this scenario and continued Chinese opposition, it is very likely that a consensus on India’s membership will elude the grouping’s plenary on June 23-24. Some 20 members are said to be backing India, some are undecided and some are opposed to it.
New Delhi is closely monitoring the goings-on in the South Korean capital and may depute its Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to lobby with members if it sees any prospect of Indian bid succeeding.