India is not seeking membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group as a gift, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday in response to a Chinese statement made earlier this week. “We are seeking it [NSG membership] based on our non-proliferation record,” spokesperson Vikas Swarup said during his weekly media briefing.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said that “NSG membership shall not be some kind of a farewell gift for countries to give to each other”. The remarks came a day after United States diplomat Nisha Desai Biswal had said that India deserved entry into the NSG, but China was the only “outlier” to it.

China 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. The Chinese spokesperson had also emphasised that Beijing had made its position clear on the admission of countries like India and Pakistan, which are not signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to the NSG.

In November 2016, the Chinese government had said that New Delhi’s application will be considered only after the NSG finalises rules on granting membership to countries that are not signatories to the NPT.