President Pranab Mukherjee is received by China’s Foreign Affairs Vice Minister in Guangzhou. PTI Don’t club us with Pak on N-club membership, Pranab to tell Beijing25 May 2016 | 2:13 AM
GUANGZHOU: India is looking to de-hyphenate itself from Pakistan as far as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) goes. As President Pranab Mukherjee landed in China on a four-day visit, those familiar with the developments made it clear that India had never objected to Pakistan's NSG membership.[ + read story ]
Tribune News Service
Guangzhou, May 24
India is looking to de-hyphenate itself from Pakistan as far as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) goes. As President Pranab Mukherjee landed in China on a four-day visit, those familiar with the developments made it clear that India had never objected to Pakistan's NSG membership.
“China, along with other countries, have been maintaining that there should be a thorough discussion on whether non-NPT countries can join the NSG, and this decision should be made on consensus. This applies to all non-NPT countries, including Pakistan,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told mediapersons on Monday, ahead of Mukherjee's visit.
China had recently objected to India's membership of the NSG on the grounds that it has yet to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This was seen as a sign of China's friendship towards Pakistan which has been arguing that if India is allowed in the elite NSG club, so should Pakistan.
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However, those in the know in the government maintain that India has never endorsed or blocked Pakistan’s membership to the club. The membership is by consensus and the US has backed India's claim, given India’s clean record on non-proliferation. Pakistan, whose nuclear proliferation record has always been a matter of concern, is pushing for a berth in the NSG, if India gets it. India had recently cited the example of France which became a member of the NSG without signing the NPT. The Chinese have, however, countered this saying, "France was a founder of the NSG so the issue of its acceptance to the NSG did not exist."
Officials in the government said the Chinese argument (that India could not be admitted in the NSG club without first signing the NPT) did not hold because there were no set of rules as such for the NSG membership. Also, India is primarily concerned with its own membership rather than that of another country.
India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are some of the UN members that have not signed the NPT yet. The NSG membership issue is likely to be raised by Mukherjee during his talks with the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping, over the course of next few days. While the India-China relationship is a not a smooth one, it is nevertheless being hoped that the visit of the President will help remove the strain between the two countries.
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