China insist on consensus for India NSG bid NEW DELHI: China told India on Monday it was willing to explore the possibilities for New Delhi’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) but clarified that any agreement would require consensus and attention to the elite club’s rules.
Briefing the media here ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to India for the BRICS summit in Goa, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong also kept to Beijing’s stand on the Masood Azhar affair, against the wishes of New Delhi.
China has cited technical grounds to stall the United Nations’ sanctions on Masood Azhar, the chief of the banned Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Mr Li said China was ready to continue its dialogue with India to “build consensus” for its membership to the NSG. “An issue in this regard is that any NSG decision will have to be based on consensus among all members of the 48-nation club.”
In August, India and China had established an NSG-specific dialogue mechanism headed by the joint secretary of the Indian ministry of external affairs’ disarmament and international security division and his counterpart in the Chinese foreign office. The first meeting under the mechanism has been held in New Delhi.
China has convened a similar meeting with Pakistan, which is also bidding for the NSG membership, according to reports.
Asked if Beijing foresaw any progress on the NSG issue during a meeting between the Chinese president and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, Mr Li said: “These rules are not to be decided by China alone. On the issue, China and India have maintained good communication and we are ready to continue consultations with India to build consensus and we also hope India can go to other members of the NSG as well.”
“In this aspect we are also ready for discussions with India to explore possibilities but things need to be in keeping up with procedures, norms and regulations of the NSG,” he said.
“On this issue, China’s position is consistent. That is why China has often said international law must be observed.”
According to The Hindu, China, in previous discussions has linked India’s entry to the NSG to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — a regime meant to stop proliferation of atomic weapons which New Delhi has not yet signed.
But highly placed sources told The Hindu that India has conveyed to the China that NSG rules do not spelt out that NPT membership is necessary for the entry into the group. On the contrary, the newspaper said, in India’s perception the NSG is not directly geared towards non-proliferation, but is a mechanism for “export control” of nuclear technology, of which New Delhi has an “impeccable record”.
About China’s decision to stall a ban on Masood Azhar by exercising a “technical hold” at the UN, Mr Li, in a veiled reference to India, warned against politicising counterterrorism, The Hindu said.
“There should be no double standards on counterterrorism. Nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counterterrorism,” he said. “China is opposed to all forms of terrorism.”
On Oct 1, China announced that it would extend its “technical hold” on sanctioning the JeM chief by another three months.