China on Wednesday hinted that it would continue to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, saying there should be no “double standards” in enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, PTI reported.

The statement came at a meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – in Beijing to discuss nuclear disarmament.

Spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, told reporters the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and an important component of post-war international security system.

“We believe we should conduct wide consultations and look for practical measures by opposing double standards in enforcing the treaty,” Geng said without directly referring to India.

India is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. China has maintained that it will not support India’s entry to the bloc until there is a universal formula to accept applications from all countries that have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

“We believe we should enhance its [Non-Proliferation Treaty’s] authority and effectiveness, universality and do a better job in preventing nuclear proliferation,” Geng said.

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.

China’s opposition

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. 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.

Last year, the United States said India met all the criteria to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, but China’s opposition to it has prevented it from happening. The US said it will continue to support India’s bid for membership.

Nordic countries of Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Norway have supported India’s bid for membership. Russia also said it will continue to support India’s bid.