Finding it tough to stop India's growing acceptability as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China has now backed Pakistan's candidature for the body. The country's state media has said that if India is being considered for an exemption to join the NSG, Pakistan should also get a similar treatment. [What is NSG?]
The Chinese media has also defended Pakistan's unimpressive proliferation record, saying it was carried out by the latter's nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and not the government. It added that the Pakistani government had punished Khan by putting him under several years of house arrest because of his act. [Will India make the NSG by end of 2016?]
From anti-India to pro-Pakistan
Beijing's stance on the issue has now shifted from being anti-India to being pro-Pakistan. It has understood that with all other four permanent members of the Security Council expressing support for India to become a member of the NSG and also a number of members of the body throwing their weight behind New Delhi, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Beijing to resist the pressure.
Hence, from "India shouldn't be allowed in the NSG" because of procedural reasons, the Chinese have now resorted to the strategy of backing Pakistan as a potential member of the NSG.
"If India joins hands with Pakistan to seek NSG membership..."
"China and other countries are opposed to NSG including India while excluding Pakistan, because it means solving India's problem but creating another bigger problem. If India joins hands with Pakistan to seek NSG membership, it seems more pragmatic than joining alone," said the article titled 'China no barrier to India joining NSG' on Tuesday.
It added: "If India and Pakistan are allowed to join the NPT and adopt the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, it will tarnish the authority of both. How can nuclear weapons development in other countries such as North Korea, Iran and Israel be dealt with."
A few days ago, the Chinese media had said that allowing India in NSG could impact the nuclear stability of South Asia. Now, Beijing has a clear shift in its stand. Although it has said that India's admission in the NSG is not on the agenda in the club's ongoing meeting in Seoul, but surely the Chinese are not in an assured state of mind.