New Delhi: As it becomes increasingly clear that India will have to scale the Chinese wall to gain enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on June 23.
The meeting between the two leaders - on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit – will test India's diplomacy as China will most certainly not back New Delhi at the cost of the similar aspirations of its all-weather friend, Pakistan. India has pushed its case saying that its entry to the NSG will give it access to the technology needed for clean energy.
Indicative of the rigid stance adopted by Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry said, yesterday, that India's admission is not on the agenda of the meeting at Seoul and that the NSG remains divided over non-NPT countries like India becoming its members.
China's state media went a step ahead today and pushed for Pakistan's entry into the nuclear group.
The Chinese argued that it was AQ Khan who was responsible for atomic proliferation which was not backed by the government and argued that any exemption to India for NSG entry should also be given to Pakistan.
India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, which were condemned by the international community, and the US, the EU and Japan all imposed harsh sanctions on the two countries. After the September 11 attacks, the sanctions were gradually lifted. The US even signed with India a Civil Nuclear Agreement and backs India's bid to join NSG. But the issue of the legitimacy of India's "nuclear status" has not been solved, the report said.
But India has its backers - diplomats from other NSG member countries hold a different view on granting it entry.
Reports quoted them as saying that the NSG was an informal body and thus has no fixed agenda. Issues can be taken up for deliberations based on the views of member nations.
The US is backing India and is goading other friendly partners to put their weight behind the NSG bid
However, PM Modi realises that Washington’s support won't be enough to neutralise the Chinese challenge, prompting an all-out effort to convince the other stakeholders, especially the fence-sitters.
The other possible key element of India's game plan may be to let Russia play the role of an arbitrator to turn around the Chinese opposition. In recent years, Russia and China have come closer and now act as a power group against the western allies led by the US.
While Russia has announced that it will support India at Seoul, it remains to be seen whether Russians will lean on China to ensure India makes it to the exclusive club.