India’s hopes of entering the Nuclear Suppliers Group at the plenary session meeting to be held next month hit a major roadblock on Monday when China said it has not changed its stance on states not signatories on the Non-Proliferation Treaty entering the body.
The meeting will be held in the Swiss capital, Bern.
“China’s position on the non-NPT member’s participation in the NSG has not changed,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
New Delhi’s entry is expected to be discussed at the 48-nation group in the plenary session in June. India had formally applied for NSG membership in May 2016.
China has consistently 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. China has maintained that new members have to sign the NPT. India has, however, declined to sign the NPT, calling it discriminatory, reported the Indian Express.
After India had applied, Pakistan too had submitted its application to become a part of NSG, which was said to have been backed by Beijing. However, Pakistan is also not a signatory on the NPT. The United States and some other western countries are backing India’s application.
“We support the NSG group following the mandate of the 2016 Seoul plenary session and following building consensus as well as inter-governmental process is open and transparent to deal with the relevant issue in a two-step approach,” Hua said.
China said that the first step for membership was defining a “formula”, which would be followed by the second step, which would be “country-specific.” In November 2016, the Chinese government had said that India’s application would be considered only after the NSG finalises rules on granting membership to countries that were not signatories to the NPT.