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China reacts cautiously to India's NSG aspirations

May 26, 2011 19:44 IST

India's request for a membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group should follow standard procedures based on consultations, China said on Thursday, reacting cautiously to New Delhi's inclusion in the world's premier non-proliferation body.

The new membership of the NSG should follow its "standard procedures based on consultations among its members," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said when asked at a briefing about the 46-member NSG including India's request for membership at its next meeting.

China's support is crucial as NSG decisions are taken with consensus among members.

The NSG Troika, consisting of the Netherlands, New Zealand and Hungary, had included India's membership as a part of special agenda to be considered at the NSG Plenary meeting to be held early in June. India was hopeful as it had received assurances of support from leaders of the United States, France and Russia besides several other important member states of the NSG.

China did not oppose granting of a crucial waiver to enable India to carry out nuclear commerce, when it came up for approval in September 2008, which helped it sail through as NSG. Beijing raised some questions but later supported it along with other members.

The NSG waiver, a key process of the India-US nuclear accord, enabled India to access key civil nuclear technologies and fuel. Pakistan, a close ally of China, is also demanding a similar waiver.

Islamabad, like New Delhi, is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, an important precursor to NSG membership.

As a NSG waiver opened the door to New Delhi for nuclear commerce with agreements with number of countries to set up nuclear power plants to boost power generation in India, China has announced plans to set up a one giga watt nuclear power plant for Pakistan.

China so far has not sought the approval of the NSG, arguing that it would be built and operated under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The massive plant was in addition to the two 330 mw nuclear plant at Chashma in Pakistan's Punjab, built by China, with a promise to build two more of the same capacity.

K J M Varma In Beijing
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