BEIJING  -     China on Friday said that there would be no discussion on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before reaching a specific plan on non-NPT members’ participation in the elite grouping, as it declined to give a timeline to reach a consensus among member states on this issue.

Ever since India applied for the membership of the NSG in May 2016, China has been insisting that only those countries which have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should be allowed to enter the organisation

The NSG is a 48-member grouping which regulates the global nuclear commerce.  India and Pakistan are not signatories of the NPT. After India’s application, Pakistan too has applied for the NSG membership in 2016. While answering questions on the issue at a regular news briefing, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Lu Kang said, first of all, there is no problem with a member obstructing.

All decisions taken by the Nuclear Suppliers Group are made in accordance with its rules of procedure.

He referred to 2019 Plenary Session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group being held in the capital of Kazakhstan and said in accordance with the agenda of the meeting, the member states of the group will continue to discuss “technical, legal and political issues for non-NPT parties to join the group”.

Before reaching a non-discriminatory solution to all “NPT-NPT Parties”, the Plenary of the Group does not discuss the inclusion of specific “non-NPT Contracting States”, so there is naturally no problem preventing India from joining.

On the issue of group expansion, China’s position is consistent and clear. We advocate strict adherence to the rules of the group, earnestly safeguard the authority and seriousness of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and seek non-discriminatory and acceptable solutions by all parties through full consultation, he said.

The spokesperson added, that the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multilateral non-proliferation export control mechanism. Since it is a multilateral mechanism, it has its own rules. All members must act in accordance with the rules.

He explained that “ the NSG’s rule is that all parties must follow the principle of consensus. As for the specific issues discussed by the group, whether it is India or other countries seeking to join the NSG, or the attitudes and positions of all parties concerned, this should be a discussion within the group. In fact, NSG has always been dealing with things according to its own rules.

As for the fact that India’s quest to join the NSG has been discussed for two years, he emphasized that seeking to join a multilateral institution requires consensus and indeed must be fully negotiated.

No one can predict that it will be decided tomorrow, next year or at any time. Relevant issues need to be based on non-discrimination and full discussion before seeking consensus.

We have repeatedly stated in the NSG plenary and working group discussions that many NSG members, including China, hold positions that are not targeted at any country. It is aimed at the rules of NSG itself and the principles of multilateral mechanisms.

China’s goal is very clear, that is, we must maintain the authority and seriousness of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the most basic treaty in the field of multilateral arms control and non-proliferation.”