India’s ambition to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) continues to face stiff opposition from China with Beijing refusing to change its stand on New Delhi’s membership bid ahead of elite group’s meet in Vienna later this week.
China on Monday stuck to its guns saying there was "no change" in its stand on India's membership bid which it has indicated would be considered only after rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group.
"This Friday in Vienna a plenary session of the NSG will be held. Our position is subject to no change as of date," Lu Kang, spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry, told a media briefing here.
Referring to the November 4 meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of India and China in Hyderabad, Lu said China is in close contact with relevant parties including India and have been having constructive dialogue and coordination on this issue.
NSA Ajit Doval had held talks with Chinese counterpart and State Councillor Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad during which the issue had reportedly figured.
The talks were held ahead of the meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna on November 11-12, where according to media reports the group could discuss the two-stage process to admit new members who have not signed nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
India and Pakistan which have applied for NSG membership have not signed the NPT.
Last week, China, after the second round talks with India on its entry into the NSG, had said that it will first seek a solution to admit all countries who have not signed NPT and then discuss India's specific application.
"On India's accession to the NSG, I can tell you that China's position is very clear and consistent" Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying had said.
"We will seek a solution that applies to all Non-NPT countries and then we will discuss the specific application of relevant non-NPT country," she had said.
The issue had also been discussed in the talks here between Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun on October 31. That meeting was held ahead of Doval and Yang meeting in Hyderabad.
China has also been holding simultaneous talks with Pakistan on its admission into the NSG.
Officials say that the focus now shifts on the kind of modalities being worked out by NSG which can accommodate India, whose non-proliferation record is regarded positive by a majority of the group's members contrary to Pakistan's record in nuclear proliferation.
About the outcome of Doval and Yang meeting at Hyderabad, Kang said the two officials exchanged views on bilateral as well as regional and international issues of common interest.
Asked whether India's concerns over China blocking UN ban on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Masood Azhar, Lu said they discussed issues that have "cropped up" in bilateral relations.
They agreed to maintain contact, and control and manage relevant issues to ensure steady development of bilateral relations, he said.
(With PTI inputs)