The entry into the elite 48-member NSG is crucial for India and China is a major roadblock on the way, yet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on June 19 that Beijing is not blocking New Delhi.
“China is not blocking India’s entry to the NSG. It is only talking about criteria and procedures. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China to support our entry to the NSG,” Swaraj said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Not only China, Pakistan, a non-member, too, has been critical of India’s bid. A week after India applied for membership on May 12, Pakistan applied for entry at the behest of its “all-weather” ally China.
Speaking to the press, Swaraj said that India will support the entry of any nation to the NSG, adding that their application should be considered on merit basis.
“As far as entry of Pakistan is concerned, India, being a non-member of the NSG, cannot comment on their entry and their role. But we will not oppose entry of any nation to the NSG and will support their bid. We think that the application of each country should be considered on the basis of their merit,” she said.
Expressing hope that by the end of 2016, India will be a member of the club, Swaraj said that the member countries should talk about the country’s credentials and track record instead of criteria.
Entry to the NSG is restricted to those who have signed the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Beijing has raised India’s not being a signatory to the treaty as a reason for not letting New Delhi enter the club.
It should be noted here that Swaraj’s remarks follow Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s two-day trip to China on June 16 and 17 to discuss India’s NSG membership with his Chinese counterpart.
A final call on Indian membership will be decided at the NSG plenary meeting in Seoul scheduled on June 23 and 24.
On June 23, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation leaders’ meeting in Tashkent.