China has said that more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries can join the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) following the United States' push to include India in the elite group.
"China notes that some non-NPT States parties wish to join the NSG. For the "non-NPT States parties" to join the issue of how to do this group of countries, China has always advocated a full discussion of this first group to seek consensus and decisions by consensus," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an statement.
With Beijing already leading its stance in opposing inclusion of India in the NSG, reports now suggest that other countries, including New Zealand, Turkey, South Africa and Austria also oppose New Delhi's membership. The Foreign Ministry spokesman in a veiled statement said that many other countries hold similar position on India's entry to the group.
"NPT is a political and legal basis for the international non-proliferation system. This position applies to all "non-NPT States parties", which is not for the specific non-NPT States parties. In fact, there is not only within China, many countries in the group, also holds the same position," he clarified.
He said that large differences remain over the issue of non-NPT countries joining the NSG. "Since recent times, within the group of "non-NPT States parties" to join this group of countries the problem was some discussion, but there are really big differences," he said. "The next step, China supports the Group continued to discuss this further, to an early consensus on this. China will continue to participate in constructive discussions," he added.
The countries, who oppose India's membership, argue that its inclusion in the group would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation and also infuriate New Delhi's rival Pakistan. Islamabad, which enjoys the backing of its close ally China, has also responded to India's membership bid and asked for its admission as well.
The decision on Indian membership will only be decided at the NSG plenary meeting in Seoul scheduled on June 20. While reports surfaced that Beijing would try its best to stop India's entry into the group, Washington has already vouched its full support during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to United States earlier this week.