India-China disarmament officials meet amid stalemate over India’s entry into NSG
Beijing, Apr 10: India and China today held the fifth round of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue here, a key platform to discuss international security and disarmament issues amid Beijing’s continued efforts to block New Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
China has been blocking India’s entry into the elite nuclear club in the last two years on the ground that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even though majority of the 48-member group supported New Delhi’s case.
Pakistan, China’s all weather ally, too has applied for NSG membership in 2016.
During today’s talks, the two sides exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest, including developments related to disarmament and non-proliferation at multilateral forums, nuclear issues, role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament as well as outer space, the Indian Embassy here said in a statement.
“Both sides underlined the importance of the bilateral dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on important issues,” it said, but made no reference to India’s NSG membership issue.
China has called for a two-step approach which states that NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and then move forward discussions of specific cases.
Last December, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media here that China’s position on India’s entry into the NSG remained “unchanged”.
For its part, India has been taking up the issue with China at different levels including during the meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
NSG membership along with China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Beijing blocking moves to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar as terrorist by UN became major stumbling blocks in India-China relations.
Today’s talks were held amid new optimism on both sides to improve their ties after last year’s 73-day standoff at Dokalam.
Reports say a number of top Indian officials and ministers, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are expected to visit China this month.
Modi too is scheduled to take part in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit scheduled to be held in Chinese city of Qingdao in June.
The Indian delegation at today’s talks was led by Dr. Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) in the Ministry of External Affairs while the Chinese side was led by Wang Qun, Director General of Department of Arms Control at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China.