Outgoing United States envoy Richard Verma on Tuesday expressed hope that India will eventually become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. He said, “This is something we will keep working on together. There is a lot of support for India’s membership as we said we strongly support India’s accession in the NSG.” He added that India’s membership was complicated and could take time. “We will have to continue to work with those countries including China which may have some concerns. But I believe, at the end of the day, we will get there.”

China on Monday had said NSG membership to countries not part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty cannot be a “farewell gift” for countries to give each other. Beijing’s comments came a day after the United States Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal on Sunday had said while India deserves entry into NSG, China was the only “outlier” to it. Asserting that US President Barack Obama “unequivocally” supported India’s NSG bid, Biswal had said, “Clearly there is one outlier that needs to be addressed and that is China.”

“I just want to point out that NSG membership shall not be some kind of (a) farewell gift for countries to give to each other,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday. Hua added that Beijing has made its position clear regarding non-NPT countries’ admission to the NSG and it will not repeat it again. India and Pakistan are not party to the NPT.

Beijing has been against India’s entry to the 48-member international body, which monitors and controls the export of materials or technology that can be used to create nuclear weapons. In November 2016, the Chinese government had said that India’s application will be considered only after the NSG finalises rules on granting membership to countries that are not signatories to NPT.

Commenting on China blocking India’s proposal at the United Nations to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist, Hua said the UN Security Council Resolution Committee needs to base its decision on “solid evidence”. “The technical hold China proposed is to allow more time for consultation and deliberation,” she said. The country is the only nation in the 15-member-strong UN Security Council to oppose the ban on Azhar.