NEW DELHI: China has stonewalled India’s last-minute push for Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) membership by raising various hurdles and insisting on signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as first criteria to become a member of the elite club.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday confirmed that the bid was “blocked by one nation” — an indirect reference to China, which led a bloc of some member countries, including Brazil and Switzerland, opposing India’s membership.
“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.” MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The Ministry of External Affairs also called the bluff of Chinese that India’s membership was not taken up during the plenary.
Chinese lead negotiator Wang Qun on Friday had made a statement that the meeting had not discussed India’s membership, adding that Nuclear Suppliers’ Group members were divided on the issue of accepting countries who have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Meanwhile, the US said that there is “a path forward” for India to become a full member of the NSG by the end of the year, hours after the group’s plenary meeting ended in Seoul with no decision on India’s membership in face of strong China-led opposition. “We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year,” a top Obama administration official said.
“It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
(with PTI inputs)