India has blamed regional rival China for blocking its entry to a nuclear trade group opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, after its members met in South Korea with no decision on India’s bid to join.
India wants to become a member of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which works to prevent the sharing of technology that could spread nuclear weapons.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reported attempts failed to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to support India’s membership, as Beijing stood firm in its opposition.
“The NSG plenary in Seoul earlier in the day decided against granting India membership of the grouping immediately,” Vikas Swarup said.
A three-hour discussion on India’s membership saw “procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country,” he added.
China reportedly raised objection that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – a treaty on nuclear disarmament.
Modi had in his efforts to get India into the NSG had, undertake a multi-nation trip to court key countries including the US, Switzerland and Mexico.
He met with China’s Xi on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan Thursday, apparently to push for Beijing’s support.
India’s formal application to the group in May this year had received backing from key NSG members including US, France and Japan.
The group in a communique on the conclusion of the meeting said it would continue its deliberations on the issue of accepting non-NPT states in its fold, but did not elaborate how it intended to proceed with the consultations.
The participants “had discussions on the issue of technical, legal, and political aspects of the participation of non-NPT states in NSG and decided to continue with that,” communiqué said.
According to reports Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Italy, Romania, Belarus, Turkey, China, Austria, Ireland, Belgium and New Zealand opposed extending concessions to India.
India and Pakistan are the two non-NPT states aspiring for the membership of the 48-member international nuclear trade group.
The absence of a consensus on the matter proved to be a major diplomatic setback for India and its backers US, Japan and some other Western countries, which seemed to be in a hurry to get India admitted to the group. The condition of signing the NPT — one of the five requirements for new entrants — turned out to be the biggest obstacle for developing a consensus on the Indian application.
Earlier, China had opposed bending rules for India to join Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in the Seoul meeting.
Head of the arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry Wang Qun, in a statement said it would not allow India membership as it has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
He said applicant countries must be signatory of NPT. He said the issue of India’s membership was not formally discussed at the NSG meeting this week.