This Article is From Sep 15, 2016

NSG Membership Priority For India: Foreign Ministry

NSG Membership Priority For India: Foreign Ministry

In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, China stonewalled India's bid to join the group.

New Delhi: India today reaffirmed its stance on Nuke club NSG membership, saying it "is a priority". China had on Wednesday said it is yet to form a position on the accession of any non-NPT country into the elite nuclear club.

"The two sides have had a substantive and pragmatic exchange on the issue of NSG membership, which is a priority for India because of our plans for civil nuclear energy. On certain issues such as development and clean energy, there should not be differences between the two sides," MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at his weekly briefing.

China and India this week discussed issues of mutual interest in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a focus on India's entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

He added that the two countries have agreed that both sides should approach these issues with mutual sensitivity to each others' concerns and priorities.

"The exchange was useful in enhancing understanding of each other's perspective and will be continued," he said.

Mr Swarup said the two sides were also of the view that a process has been set in motion after the Seoul NSG plenary on the issue of membership and they should support this process.

"This can demonstrate to the whole world that India and China approach such issues with strategic maturity and are working together to narrow and resolve any difference of view. This is urgent and timely," he said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying told media in Beijing on Wednesday that India and China are "yet to agree on accession of any specific member into the group".

She said this referring to Tuesday's first round of talks between the two countries on India's admission into NSG, which controls global nuclear commerce.

The talks came nearly two-and-a-half months after China scuttled India's NSG membership bid.

Asked about China's argument that energy issue is no longer a bilateral matter between it and India, Swarup said on issues such as development and clean energy or terrorism for that matter, given the positions that have been taken, there is a strong bilateral dimension.

"That is why we had this dialogue. The understanding of the two sides is that this is both a bilateral and a multilateral issue. There is no contradiction," he said.

In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India's bid to join the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT.