‘India’s entry not on Seoul meet agenda’

“The inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NSG meetings. In Seoul this year there is no such topic,” Ms. Hua said.

The government said it remained hopeful of India’s chances. “We remain optimistic on the issue,” said the MEA spokesperson. “However the NSG Plenary meeting where this issue is coming up is yet to take place,” advising against “needless speculation” and waiting for “factual developments in the coming days.” The statement indicated India still expected the issue to be discussed during the NSG plenary, and sources said the government was confident that “at least 20 countries” would take India’s case for membership forward in the next few days.

Modi-Xi meet

Sources, however, conceded that Chinese diplomats had taken too public a stand now to “back down”, and it would need a breakthrough at the political level, hoping for one when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Tashkent that begins on Thursday.

At the press conference in Beijing, the MFA spokesperson said that Mr. Jaishankar had cited India’s growing clean energy needs as the basis for its membership bid, during his meeting with his counterpart Wang Yi. However, the Chinese spokesperson’s words seemed to signal that India may have to wait longer than expected, coming in sharp contrast to Ms. Swaraj’s assertion on Sunday that “I don’t think any country will break the consensus in India’s favour, and this time we will get the NSG membership.”

Ms. Hua also ruled out supporting a “country-specific” entry for India, without Pakistan, saying that the “NSG should discuss the entry issue of non-NPT countries as a whole instead of specific non-NPT countries joining.”

On Sunday, Ms. Swaraj had said India would not oppose the candidature of Pakistan or any other country, a statement that came in for criticism from the opposition in Delhi. “Pakistan is the unquestionable black marketeer of nuclear weapons in the world. How can the BJP government decide to not oppose its entry into NSG,” Congress spokesperson Jairam Ramesh asked at a press conference in Delhi on Monday.

“Chinese diplomats have taken too public a stand against India now

to back down”