In an apparent climb down, China today said it will play a “constructive” role in the discussions on India’s bid for membership of the 48-member NSG but at the same time maintained that the issue was not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that NSG members had three rounds of unofficial discussions on the entry of India and Pakistan into the grouping.
Here are the 10 developments:
1. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has been singing different tunes, first saying that it was not targeting any country such as India or Pakistan and then taking a swipe at the US for backing India’s case citing the rule that countries which have not signed the NPT should not be allowed into NSG.
2. China yesterday said the “door is open” for discussions on the issue but then emphasised on whether criteria for memberships should be changed instead of making exceptions. In other words, China is seeking to equate India with its impeccable non-proliferation record with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
3. The US, which has been supporting India’s NSG bid, has said New Delhi is “ready” for NSG membership and asked participating governments to support its application at the plenary session of NSG in Seoul.
4. While majority of the elite group members backed India's membership, it is understood that apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India's entry into the NSG.
5. The NSG remains divided over non-NPT countries like India becoming its members, China’s Foreign Ministry had said yesterday less than 24 hours after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had exuded hope that “we would be able to convince China to support our entry to the NSG.”
6. Last week as well, the US had called on members of the nuclear trading club to support India's membership.
7. Pakistan applied for NSG membership, a week after India submitted its membership application.
8. India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France. India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology. India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support for its entry. The NSG works under the principle of consensus and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.
9. The access to the NSG, which regulates the global trade of nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for energy-starved India, which has an ambitious energy generation programme. India is looking at 63,000 MW energy requirement through the nuclear programme by 2030.
10. The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Membership of the grouping will help India significantly expand its atomic energy sector.