China on Monday said India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group had become “more complicated” under the “new circumstances”, reported PTI. The country, however, did not specify what these complications and circumstances were.
The NSG is a 48-nation body, which monitors and controls the export of materials or technology that can be used to create nuclear weapons. Admission of new members to the NSG is done through consensus. India had formally applied for NSG membership in May 2016. Even though India has the backing of majority of the members, China has been blocking India’s membership. The country has been demanding a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory countries.
“About the Nuclear Suppliers Group [NSG], it is a new issue under the new circumstances and it is more complicated than the previously imagined,” China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs Li Huilai said in Beijing on Monday.
Li, however, added that China wanted to deepen relations with India. “China and India are important neighbours and both are fast developing, both are emerging new market economies,” he said. “Both are important forces upholding peace and stability.”
Last month, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said that there was no change in China’s stance on non-NPT signatory countries’ entry to NSG.
After India had applied, Pakistan too had submitted its application to become a part of NSG. However, Pakistan is also not a signatory on the NPT either. The United States and some other western countries are backing India’s application. 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.
Recently, India’s ties with China have been strained. India had opposed China’s One Belt, One Road project saying it involved the country’s sovereignty. The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal had also ruffled some feathers, as China had warned India of “serious measures” after it allowed the Tibetan leader to visit areas that China considers disputed territory.