Starting a phase of direct bilateral negotiation, India discussed its bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with China on Tuesday. The talks, which officials on both sides described as “pragmatic”, were the first since India’s failed bid for membership at the NSG’s June plenary in Seoul.
“As agreed by the External Affairs Minister and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 13 August, the two sides focused on an issue of priority for India — membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG),” an MEA statement said. The consultation was co-chaired by Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary, Disarmament and International Security, and Ambassador Wang Qun, Director-General of the Arms Control Division of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
A government source told The Hindu that the discussion lasted for almost four hours, during which India tried to convince China to support New Delhi’s application. “They [the Chinese team] maintained a more pragmatic tone and showed signs of engagement on process. We will continue to meet,” the official said.
A press release from the Chinese embassy said China had promised to participate in the discussion, pushing the “two-step” formula for membership of non-NPT signatories.
“China has not yet taken a position on any country-specific membership in the category of the non-NPT states . And China supports the notion of the two-step approach within the Group to address the above question to reach agreement on a non-discriminatory formula applicable to all the non-NPT states, and to take up country-specific membership issues at the second stage,” the release said.