Beijing/New Delhi, Jun 20: India's hopes of making progress towards NSG membership at the plenary meeting of the 48-nation grouping which began in Seoul today received a setback with China saying that this was not even on the agenda of the meeting.
Nuclear Suppliers Group remains divided over non-NPT countries like India becoming its members, China's Foreign Ministry said less than 24 hours after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had exuded hope that "we would be able to convince China to support our entry to the NSG."
Even as the 5-day annual NSG Plenary began in the South Korean capital, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying in Beijing said that India's admission into NSG was not on the agenda. "We understand that non-NPT countries are concerned about their entry into the NSG.
But since NSG is still divided about the issue, so it is still not mature to talk about the entry issue in the annual conference in Seoul," she said. Beijing's response came a day after Swaraj at a press conference in New Delhi had said "China is not opposing membership of India in NSG, it is only talking of criteria and procedure.
I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG." Officials in New Delhi sought to downplay the snub with the MEA Spokesperson saying that India remained "optimist".
The main meeting of the NSG Plenary on June 24 comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Tashkent for SCO Summit, which is also being attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Modi may meet Xi during which he is expected to raise the issue of India's NSG membership but whether the discussions will lead to break in the logjam is a moot point.