Seeking China’s support for India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a ‘fair and objective’ assessment of India’s application which is before the plenary of the 48-nation grouping that is currently meeting in Seoul.
Meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit, Modi said India’s case should be judged on its own merits and China should contribute to an emerging consensus in the Seoul meeting, according to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
The meeting, which lasted for nearly 50-minutes, comes in the backdrop of stiff Chinese opposition to India’s entry into the NSG, which looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector, including trade and export of nuclear technology.
However, when asked about China’s response, Swarup refused to comment, saying, “You know, it is a complex and delicate process. We are waiting (to see) what kind of news comes from Seoul. I will not make any more comment on this.”
Swarup also stated that most of the time of the Modi-Xi meeting was devoted to the NSG issue.
Asked if India talked about the need to de-link India and Pakistan's NSG membership bids, he said, “...You have heard what the prime minister told Xi Jingping that China must make a fair and objective assessment of India's application on its own merits and China should join the emerging consensus in Seoul.”
While making some right noises of playing ‘constructive’ role on the issue of memberships of India and Pakistan, China has been unrelenting in its opposition, harping on the need to have a criterion for countries like India who’ve not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and clubbing India’s case with that of Pakistan for which it is batting.
Earlier, Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain met Xi on the sidelines of the summit and thanked China for supporting Pakistan’s case for the NSG membership.
Hussain told Xi that any ‘exception’ in granting membership to the NSG will ‘disturb’ strategic stability in South Asia.
“President Xi welcomed India's accession to the SCO and said it would strengthen it. Prime Minister Modi thanked President Xi for China’s support to India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” Swarup said.
Prior to his departure from New Delhi to Tashkent, Modi said India looks forward to fruitful outcome from its engagement at the SCO summit.
India’s entry into SCO as a full member will provide it an opportunity to have extended cooperation with member countries in areas of defence, security and counter-terrorism.
The SCO had set the ball rolling to make India a member of the bloc during its summit in Ufa in July last year when administrative hurdles were cleared to grant membership to India, Pakistan and Iran.
The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the 2005 Astana Summit.