New Delhi: After 'successfully' blocking India's application for membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary last week, China has expressed ignorance about the fact that a special panel has been set up to hold “informal consultations” on India’s membership bid.
As per reports, Argentinian diplomat Rafael Grossi is heading the special panel. However, China Monday said it was not aware of any such panel.
Further, Mexico – which recently supported India's NSG membership bid – has reportedly mooted a proposal for another session of the elite nuclear club later this year.
“As we have learnt, the plenary meeting issued a news release, which said that the meeting held discussions on technical, legal, and political issues regarding the accession of non-NPT countries and agreed to continue with such discussions. And we have never heard about any other follow up steps,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.
Earlier, it had been reported that following closed-door discussions at the NSG meet in Seoul, Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi was appointed as the “Facilitator of the Chairperson to having informal consultations with the Participating Governments (PGs) in the group”.
The Chinese official further said it was not just her country but other member nations as well which blocked India’s entry into the NSG.
“As far as we know, in the NSG plenary meeting held in Seoul, many countries have expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT members into the group. They believe that they should forge a consensus and then make a decision based on consultation and thorough discussion regarding the entry of a specific country.”
Hong, however, added China has been doing the groundwork for the entry of non-NPT countries into the NSG.
“(I) also want to point out that for quite a long time, including in this plenary meeting held in Seoul, China has been promoting the NSG to have thorough discussion on the entry of non-NPT countries,” he observed, as per The Hindu.
The remarks came on a day when Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup hinted China’s move to persistently block India's NSG membership bid could hurt bilateral ties.
“We will keep impressing upon China that mutual accommodation of interests, concerns and priorities is necessary to move forward bilateral ties,” Swarup was quoted as saying.
India and Pakistan, who applied for membership of the 48-member NSG, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which China insists is a must for joining the grouping.