After a day of twists and turns, India’s hopes for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) got stuck over the question of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in Seoul on Thursday, even as the much-anticipated bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in Tashkent ended without a statement of support from China.
A source privy to the closed-door consultations told The Hindu that although the membership application from India was now specifically on the agenda of the meeting, “deliberations have not moved beyond the NPT question, and we are yet to discuss India’s case specifically.”
India scores a coup
Earlier in the day, India had scored a coup when the NSG agreed to hold a ‘Special Session’ on Thursday night with India’s membership on the agenda. This was despite China’s repeated assertion that the membership of non-signatories to the NPT, or “non-NPT countries” was not on the table for the 26th Plenary session that got under way in Seoul.
NSG members broke at about six p.m., agreeing to reconvene post-dinner at nine p.m. The development raised hopes for Indian diplomats and the team in Seoul led by Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, even as they waited for a positive message from the meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Xi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tashkent.
However, while India stated its case to China, there was no return statement from the Chinese government. “PM Modi urged China to make a fair and objective assessment of India’s application and judge it on its own merits. He said China should contribute to the emerging consensus in Seoul,” the MEA spokesperson said.