India’s entry into NSG cannot be a farewell gift, says China

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Sticking to its stand, China on Monday said India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) cannot be a “farewell gift” to the outgoing US President Barack Obama.

The reaction by China, which has been consistently opposing India’s membership to the elite club, came after US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal described China as an “outlier” in the process of letting India join the nuclear trade bloc.

“Regarding India’s application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group, regarding non-NPT countries admission to the NSG, we have made our position clear before so I will not repeat it,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said here at a media briefing.

“I just want to point out that NSG membership shall not be some kind of farewell gift for countries to give to each other,” Hua said, referring to Obama who will be succeeded by Donald J. Trump on Friday.

The US administration, under Obama, has strongly backed India’s membership in the 48-member NSG, which regulates global nuclear trade.

China, a close friend of Pakistan, has opposed India’s entry into the grouping, which has been an irritant in Sino-India ties.

Beijing objects to New Delhi’s inclusion in the bloc, citing India’s non-signatory status to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

It argues if New Delhi can be allowed an exception why not its “all-weather ally” Pakistan.

On China blocking India’s bid to have Pakistani militant Masood Azhar declared as international terrorist by the UN, Hua cited the need for “solid evidence” and “consensus”.

She said: “As we have explained our position before, on this question, the 1267 Committee needs to base its decision on solid evidence, follow relevant resolutions and rules of procedure and make a decision based on consensus.”

“The technical hold China proposed is to allow more time for consultation and deliberation,” she said.

China repeatedly put a “technical hold” on India’s resolution for a ban on Azhar in 2016. India says Azhar is the mastermind of the January 2016 terror attack on the Pathankot air base in Punjab.

Asked if Beijing would back India’s resolution against Azhar this year, Hua said: “It is a regret that no consensus has been reached so far. We need more consensus and more time for deliberation so as to reach a consensus.”