Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) V.K. Singh said that the media reports on China being the one who derailed India’s NSG bid were “speculations”.
On Saturday, July 2, Singh said that since the NSG plenary meeting at Seoul was held behind closed doors, one cannot conclusively blame Beijing for the member countries not taking up India’s bid.
“The speculation doing the rounds in media regarding China’s protest over NSG membership to India is not true,” PTI reports him saying on the sidelines of a function in Ballia, Uttar Pradesh.
“Who said what to whom…What you are here hearing is without basis. The truth is only known to those who are inside the room. We don’t know,” Singh told reporters.
It should be noted here that following the plenary meeting on June 24, the MEA had blamed “one country” for “persistently raising” procedural hurdles.
Since China was the country that raised “procedure” – which Beijing’s supporters at the plenary rallied behind – it was understood that India was hinting at China.
MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup had then said: ““We understand that despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country, a three-hour-long discussion took place last night on the issue of future participation in the NSG.” Swarup had on Friday that on the basis of India’s bilateral agreements with all 48 countries, “I can say with complete certainty that at the end of the day there was only one country which raised procedural hurdles”.
But Singh said that it is the media that is accusing China.
“You are saying this [that China is opposing us]. I don’t know that. That’s why I say, when the media publishes something, or broadcasts something, where does that come from? Did you think that up yourself? Did the MEA tell you this? No, right? Because we are not inside the (NSG) room, we don’t know what was said there. How will people who are outside know what is happening inside the room?”
Singh’s comments should not be seen as going against what the MEA initially may have stated. It is indeed true that no Indian official was present at the venue of the plenary in Seoul, yet officials were reportedly in touch with delegates of countries who were strongly supporting India’s bid.
Also, that Beijing pulled up its chief negotiator Wang Qun following the plenary for his “failure” in ratcheting up enough support in China’s favour hints at the NSG member’s stance towards India.
Singh stated that India is making continuous efforts towards improving relations with the neighbours.
Because at least 38 countries expressed their support for India, New Delhi is confident that it will be able to convince others for the NSG before the next session.
Singh’s comments follow the comments on China made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his interview with Arnab Goswami. The PM had stated that India has a lot of problems with China but “talks are the only way forward and problems should be resolved through dialogue”.