China says No, links India's NSG case with North Korea and Iran
- Saibal Dasgupta, ToI
China today gave clear indications it is not going to back India's case for a membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group. It is also using the North Korean nuclear situation as an excuse to refuse to accept India's request for support.
In a statement issued this morning, the Chinese foreign ministry said that no exceptions can be made to what it regards as a "rule" disallowing countries that have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty to join the NSG.
The statement revealed how China is lobbying against India's entry by referring to the nuclear controversies surrounding Iran and North Korea while keeping silent about nuclear sales by Pakistan.
Telling other NSG members in its efforts to lobby against India's entry, Beijing is also preparing the ground for the image loss it might suffer if the NSG ultimately turns down the Indian request to join.
But it skipped Pakistan, and used North Korea as a reference point to explain that non-NPT countries cannot be allowed to join it.
"And in the absence of NPT as the political and legal basis, how could the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular be resolved? All these merit reflection," Wang Qun, Director General of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry, said in the statement.
Wang, who is China's negotiator in the NSG talks, went on to say that admitting India would amount to adopting double standards, which would result in enormous cost.
"While it's easy to adopt double standards, the consequence can be enormous," he said.
He said that NPT represents the cornerstone of the entire non-proliferation regime.
"If exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non-proliferation then will be collapsed altogether. In the absence of NPT as political and legal basis, it will be inconceivable for the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear issue to be reached," he said.
Taking on a public relations stance, Wang said, "India had bilateral cooperation with many members of the Group in the field of nuclear energy. And subject to India's needs, China for its part also stands ready to explore cooperation in this field, so as to help India to address its nuclear energy needs"
He did not explain how China expects to help India by keeping it out of NSG. There are signs China is seeking opportunities to sell nuclear reactors to India as it has done in the case of Pakistan without giving it the status of an NSG member.
The statement refutes reports that China was trying to block India's entry while putting up several arguments to explain why India and other non NPT countries cannot be supported. The ministry continued to take the technical view that there was no question of blocking India because the issue has not been listed in the formal agenda.
Wang also tried to mollify India's angst saying, "China for its part understands India's sentiment on developing nuclear energy to meet climate changes". This is also the common challenges confronting the developing countries, he said. But he assets that the NPT "is not at odds with the Paris Agreement on climate change".
While China does not want us to be part of any grouping, if at all it is possible, it specially considers NSG crucial because it makes India on par with the P-5, a prospect that it fears because this would have consequences in the UNSC. China is determined to prevent UNSC expansion and especially India becoming a permanent member. Anything that adds power to India's positioning is being strenuously subverted by China. It is now openly clear that India is viewed by China as its great enemy, if not the greatest, a title it may still reserve for the US. We are fools if we still continue with our new approach to China of the last two decades.
What riles one up so much is that for the Chinese, our former PM decided to give up the UNSC seat ! We argued for China's inclusion in the UN, tried to rehabilitate it and today China is returning the favour by actively excluding us from every global organization, grouping etc. Do we learn a lesson?