Delhi: Chinese media said on Thursday that China could support India's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) if it promises to comply with non-proliferation rules.
An opinion piece in the nationalistic 'Global Times' said that the "reason why India has scored a big win in garnering support for its NSG membership from some countries is because Washington has started to treat New Delhi as part of the US alliance... Against the backdrop of Washington's accelerated pace of promoting its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it will be highly likely to keep supporting New Delhi's nuclear ambitions, in order to make it a stronger power to contain China."
It added - "However, as a country that has signed neither the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) nor the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), India is not yet qualified for accession into the NSG. That's why the bloc is still divided over the case, and countries including New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria have expressed their firm objections to India's membership... As a crucial defender of the international system against nuclear proliferation, China does not wish to see the political and legal foundation of global nuclear security to be challenged by any party who does not abide by rules."
The opinion piece further said - "So far, all NSG members have signed the NPT. So the question is, if any non-signatory of the treaty wants to join the group, under what condition can it be accepted? If such a standard is to be made one day, then it will be possible for both India and Pakistan to become part of the group. Beijing welcomes New Delhi playing a role as a major power in global governance, including producing positive effect in a nuclear non-proliferation organization. As long as all NSG members reach a consensus over how a non-NPT member could join the NSG, and India promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while sticking to its policy of independence and self-reliance, China could support New Delhi's path toward the club.
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.
India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support to its membership. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity.
On June 13, China had said that the 48-nation body will have 'extensive discussions' about admission of new members ahead of its plenary meeting to be held in Seoul on June 24.
"As to how non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries can join the NSG, the group shall have extensive discussions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kong had told a media briefing in Beijing replying to a question whether the group is likely to take a decision at the Seoul meeting, as per PTI.
While the US and a majority of the 48 members back India's admission, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria are reportedly opposed to the entry.
China which is reportedly backing Pakistan's entry into the club maintains that there should be consensus about admitting non-NPT members into the grouping.
(With Agency inputs)