New Delhi/Paris: On a day when China assured that it will play a "constructive" role in the discussions at Seoul on India's bid for joining the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers group (NSG), France on Wednesday reiterated its support for India's entry into the elite nuclear club.
The French Foreign Ministry said in a statement: “In line with its active and long-standing support to India’s entry to the NSG as a full-fledged member, France calls on its members, who are meeting on 23 June in Seoul, to take a positive decision.”
“France considers that India’s entry into 4 multilateral export control regimes (NSG, MTCR, The Australia Group, The Wassenaar Arrangement) will bolster international efforts on combating proliferation,” the statement added.
France reiteration of support came even as China today said the issue of India's induction into the NSG was not on the agenda of the scheduled meeting in Seoul this week.
Chinese 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.
"China hopes to discuss further this issue and will play a constructive role in the discussions," she said.
"Although parties are yet to see eye-to-eye on this issue, such discussions help them better understand each other," she said.
At the same time, Hua maintained the entry of India and Pakistan is not on the agenda of the NSG grouping's meeting in Seoul.
"Deliberation on the entry of specific countries is on the agenda of the Seoul Plenary meeting. However, it is worth noting that the NSG Plenary meeting in Seoul is only to deliberate on the entry of members who signed the NPT," she said.
"As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its meeting agenda. Based on what we have at hand, the agenda of this year's Seoul Plenary Meeting circulated by the Chair does not include this issue either," she said.
President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Tashkent beginning Thursday during which India is expected to seek China's support for its NSG membership bid.
Beijing is keen on blocking India's bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, while saying exception should not be made for India.
China also wants its ally Pakistan to be inducted into NSG as a member whenever a decision is taken on India.
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.