India and China held the fifth round of the Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue in Beijing on Tuesday, even as China continued to block New Delhi’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The bilateral talks on disarmament began in 2015, but the two sides are yet to find a way out of the Nuclear Suppliers Group impasse. The group is an elite nuclear club that oversees and regulates global trade in nuclear material and equipment. China has been blocking India’s entry into the 48-member group as India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India’s Pankaj Sharma, a joint secretary in the External Affairs Ministry met China’s Wang Qun, the director general of the Department of Arms Control at the Foreign Ministry for Tuesday’s talks. “Both sides underlined the importance of the bilateral dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on important issues,” a statement from the Indian Embassy said.
“The delegations exchanged views on developments related to disarmament and non-proliferation at multilateral forums, nuclear issues, role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament as well as outer space,” the statement added, but it did not mention India’s NSG bid.
Why China is blocking India’s NSG bid
China maintains that it will not support India’s entry to the bloc until there is a universal formula to accept applications from all countries that haven’t signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the Hindustan Times reported.
China has suggested a two-step approach for such countries – evolving a universal formula and then taking up each country’s applications. According to analysts, China’s objection could be its attempt to also get ally Pakistan – which has not signed the non-proliferation treaty – on the bloc.
India has been taking up the NSG issue with China at different levels, including in meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, PTI reported. However, the NSG membership, combined with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Beijing repeatedly blocking the listing of Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations, continue to affect India-China ties.