Seoul: In a major blow to India, China on Friday said that the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) will not discuss its membership bid into the elite group, adding that New Delhi will first have to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as it is a must and a major criteria set up by the NSG.
Speaking to ANI here, Director-General of the Arms Control Department of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Qun asserted that India's membership has 'never ever' been on the agenda of the NSG and that there is no such agenda item for the two-day plenary, adding that there is no point of China opposing or supporting India as well as the membership of other countries.
"One thing is clear that India's membership has never ever been taken up as an agenda item. In the two plenary sessions, there was no extraordinary session on this matter. There is no such agenda matter. In the caveat there could be observations and interventions but that's all," he said.
However, Wang added that Beijing attaches 'great importance' to India's sentiments for the membership of NSG.
Talking about India's chances into the elite group, the Chinese official said that one of the five criteria's set by the NSG is that the signing of the NPT is a must, adding that the rule was not set by China but by the group as a whole.
"China doesn't support Pakistan or India to enter NSG until they follow rules established by members. NSG consensus is in favour of Non Proliferation Treaty, hope India will join NPT first. The meeting on Thursday was an effort to find consensus on non-NPT state applications, but differences remain," Wang said.
Asserting that China was not isolated in the matter of not accepting India's bid, he further said that on the question of how to deal with Non-NPT states, the group remains divided.
"There are nations which have appreciated the efforts India has made for the NSG but in the meantime, hoped that its membership could be considered within the framework of the NPT. In fact the NPT is really an issue," Wang added.
Earlier, highly placed sources told ANI that China is not the sole opponent to India's member ship to the NSG, but Brazil, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and New Zealand too have opposed India's entry, citing it's not being a signatory of the NPT for nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
This development comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Tashkent and urging China to make a fair and objectives assessment of New Delhi's application to the NSG and to judge it on its own merit.