India meets all the criteria to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group but China’s opposition to it has prevented it from happening, the United States said on Thursday, according to PTI.

“The Nuclear Suppliers’ Group is a consensus-based organisation,” said Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, in Washington. “India has not been able to secure membership as a result of opposition from China.”

The Nuclear Suppliers’ Group 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 is done through consensus. India had formally applied for membership in May 2016. Even though India has the backing of the majority of the group’s members, China has been blocking its entry into the bloc.

India is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The US will continue to support India’s bid for membership, said Wells. “We have deemed that we are not going to limit our own cooperation with India based on a Chinese veto,” she said. “We moved ahead with a Strategic Trade Authorisation-1 and we certainly believe that India meets all of the qualifications of the NSG and will continue to actively advocate on behalf of India’s membership.”

By granting STA-1 status, the US has accommodated India as one of its closest allies, Wells said. “It reflects just the intimacy of the strategic partnership,” said Wells.

Earlier this year, India’s membership bid got the support of the Nordic countries of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Russia also said it will continue to support India’s membership bid.

Why China is blocking India’s NSG bid

China maintains that it will not support India’s entry until there is a universal formula to accept applications from all countries that haven’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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 also not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty – on the bloc.

India has been taking up the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group issue with China at different levels, including in meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. This issue, combined with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Beijing’s repeated blocking of the listing of Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations, continue to affect India-China ties.