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India will not oppose entry of any other country into NSG: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to China

India has been reaching out to NSG member countries seeking support to its membership.

Delhi: In order to step up its efforts to get China's backing for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made a trip to Beijing on June 16-17 this week, as per media reports.

The FS reportedly met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and raised India's NSG bid with him.

 "Yes, I can confirm Foreign Secretary visited Beijing on June 16-17 for bilateral consultations with his Chinese counterpart. All major issues, including India's NSG membership, were discussed," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Sunday, as per PTI.

The visit assumes importance days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 23 at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation leaders' meeting in Tashkent.

On the other hand, Mail Today quoted sources as saying aid that India's message to China was that it will not be a hurdle to any other country's entry into the NSG as long as their membership fulfills not just requirements of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) but also of the NSG.

The report further added that Jaishankar and Wang also had discussions on the same issue along the sidelines of President Pranab Mukherjee's visit to China in the last week of May.

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.

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.

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 said to be backing Pakistan's entry into the club maintains that there should be consensus about admitting non-NPT members into the grouping.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said that India will not oppose the entry of Pakistan or any other country into the NSG but asserted that the decision on all applications should be decided on merits. 

"Hum China ko bhi mananey mein kamyabi hasil kar lenge (We will succeed in convincing China too)," she told the media, as per IANS.

Answering questions, she said China 'is not opposed to India's entry' into NSG but it was 'only talking about the criteria procedures' to New Delhi's entry to the nuclear grouping.

India has been campaigning for membership of the bloc for last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12.

The NSG had granted an exclusive waiver to India in 2008 to access civil nuclear technology after China reluctantly backed India's case based on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

(With Agency inputs)