In a strong rebuttal to China’s remarks that membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) cannot be a "farewell gift" for countries to give to each other, New Delhi today said India’s bid for membership to the elite group is based on its “non-proliferation record.”
“India is not seeking NSG membership as a gift, we are seeking it based it on our non-proliferation record,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said today.
Swarup’s rebuttal comes days after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “NSG membership shall not be some kind of (a) farewell gift for countries to give to each other.”
Her reaction was in response to the US after it described Beijing as an "outlier" in its effort to bring India on board the elite grouping of the NSG.
"Clearly there is one outlier that needs to be addressed and that is China," US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal had said on India's NSG membership bid.
The US statement came just a week ahead of the Obama Administration passing on the baton to the Trump Administration.
Outgoing US envoy to India Richard Verma had on Tuesday exuded confidence that the Donald Trump government would be able to overcome the Chinese hurdle.
Verma said President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and a lot of other people had worked in pushing India's membership to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group and that the US will continue to work on it.
"All of these things have been very very important for President Obama and I believe they will continue to be top priority (of the Trump administration)," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here on Tuesday.
China has been blocking India's membership bid for the 48-member grouping despite backing from majority members on the grounds that India is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
China is advocating a two-step approach for admission of countries who have not signed the NPT.
As per the new stand announced by Beijing, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT countries followed by discussions on admitting specific nations.
Besides India, China is also interacting with Pakistan on the issue as Islamabad too applied for NSG membership after India.