BEIJING: In an apparent climb down, China today said it will play a "constructive" role in the discussions on India's bid for membership of the 48-member NSG but at the same maintained that the issue was not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told PTI that NSG members had three rounds of unofficial discussions on the entry of India and Pakistan into the grouping. "China hopes to discuss further this issue and will play a constructive role in the discussions," she said.
"Although parties are yet to see eye-to-eye on this issue, such discussions help them better understand each other," she said. At the same time, Hua said the entry of India and Pakistan is not on the agenda of the NSG grouping's meeting in Seoul.
"Deliberation on the entry of specific countries is on the agenda of the Seoul Plenary meeting. However, it is worth noting that the NSG Plenary meeting in Seoul is only to deliberate on the entry of members who signed the NPT," she said.
"As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its meeting agenda. Based on what we have at hand, the agenda of this year's Seoul Plenary Meeting circulated by the Chair does not include this issue either," she said. The NSG has never put the entry application of the non-NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) countries on its agenda, so it makes no sense to say that discussions are blocked, Hua said.
"It is true that all parties attach great importance to the entry of non-NPT countries," she said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has been singing 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.
China yesterday 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.
The US, which has been supporting India's NSG bid, has said New Delhi is "ready" for NSG membership and asked participating governments to support its application at the plenary session of NSG in Seoul.
US support for India's NSG bid part of greater design: Pakistan NSA
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua has alleged that America's efforts to include India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was part of a "greater design" to contain China and prevent the resurgence of Russia.
"It's [part of] a greater design," Janjua said at a seminar on 'Pakistan's case for NSA membership' yesterday.
Janjua said the current move by the US to induct India into the 48-nation exclusive nuclear club should be seen in the context of 'global power politics trends'.
He then listed "contain China, prevent the resurgence of Russia and keep the Muslim world in a controlled chaos" as some of the leading trends in the current global power politics, The Express Tribune reported.
The paper reported that it is unprecedented that a top Pakistani official publicly made such a candid statement about a sensitive issue.
Talking about the implications of these developments, Janjua cautioned that American policies would ultimately bring Pakistan even closer to China.
Pakistan is upset at the US decision to aggressively campaign for India while ignoring Islamabad's aspirations to become an NSG member, the paper said.
Last month, Pakistan formally applied for NSG membership, setting the stage for a showdown with India at the elite grouping's plenary session Seoul.
The campaign for India's membership into the group is seen as carrying the risk of antagonising Pakistan as well as China, which could veto any India's application, the paper said.
Pakistan fears that the induction of India into the NSG would disturb strategic balance and trigger a new arms race in South Asia, according to the paper.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's former permanent representative at the UN in Geneva Zamir Akram said that Pakistan was only opposed to "exclusive membership" of the NSG for India.
He was speaking at a seminar organised yesterday by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a think-tank, in Islamabad.
Dawn reported that Akram's comments follow remarks by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj that India does not object to any country, including Pakistan, joining the NSG on merit.
"Pakistan supports the evolution of criteria that can be applied across the board," Akram said.
The Indian and Pakistani comments suggest that their respective campaigns for NSG entry had boiled down to 'merit' versus 'criteria', the paper said.
Akram warned about the likely implications of a scenario in which India alone was admitted into the NSG, include dimming of future prospects for Pakistan's entry into the club and likely growth in India's nuclear arsenal.