Seoul: India's bid to become a member of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has been scuttled for now with China snubbing PM Narendra Modi's outreach to President Xi Jinping, by leading the opposition to India at the meeting in Seoul that ended today.
But it wasn't just China. NDTV has learnt that at the NSG plenary in Seoul, nine other countries also raised questions on the criteria that should be adopted for membership of the grouping, which effectively closed the door on India's membership for the moment.
Government sources have told NDTV that of the 48 members of the NSG, 38 countries were in favour of India's membership.
Sources say three countries including Ireland and New Zealand took the line that the criteria for admission for non-NPT states should be discussed first while India's membership can be taken up later.
Six countries, including Brazil and Switzerland, said they wanted a discussion on criteria and India's membership to take place simultaneously. Government officials say Brazil told India it supports India's membership but wants to look at a common criteria for non- NPT states as well.
The clear opposition to India came from China. Sources say China tried to block any discussion on India most of Thursday and only agreed to a special late night meeting on the condition that there would be no decision on India in this NSG plenary.
Meanwhile, in an apparent dig at China, the government said "despite procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country, a three hour long discussion took place last night on the issue of (India's) future participation in the NSG.
"India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest. It is our understanding that most countries want an early decision," said the statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs.
On Friday morning, China's top negotiator at the NSG, Ambassador Wang Qun, ruled out India's membership, telling reporters, "the NSG won't discuss Indian membership yet. Many differences are there on admitting non-NPT members." He called it a matter of principle.
His statement followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jingping on the sidelines of a multilateral summit in Tashkent on Thursday.
Requesting a "fair and objective assessment" of India's bid, PM Modi had said New Delhi's case should be judged on its own merits and that China should contribute to an emerging consensus in Seoul.