New Delhi, Sep 13: Nearly two-and-a-half months after China scuttled India's NSG membership bid, the two countries today discussed issues of mutual interest in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation with a focus on India's entry into the 48-member elite nuclear trade grouping.
A Chinese delegation led by Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun visited India for talks with an Indian delegation led by Amandeep Singh Gill, Joint Secretary (Disarmament & International Security) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
"The talk covered issues of mutual interest in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. As agreed by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in their meeting on August 13, the two sides focused in particular on an issue of priority for India - membership of the NSG," the Ministry said in a press release.
It said the discussions were "candid, pragmatic and substantive". The two sides also agreed to meet for the next round of talks on a mutually convenient date.
According to sources, India reiterated its "impeccable" track-record in the non-proliferation area and stressed on its requirement for clean energy. India conveyed to the Chinese side that its implementation of NPT principles was "second to none", sources said.
In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India's bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Wang, who was the Chief Negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, had told reporters that signing of the NPT "is a must", maintaining that the rule has not been set by China but by the international community.
Wang had also warned "if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non- proliferation regime will collapse altogether".