Johannesburg, July 9: China will be closely watching Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to South Africa where he spoke to South African President Jacob Zuma on India's bid for full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
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President Zuma nodded his head after Modi thanked him for South Africa's "support" for India's membership of the NSG. He said: "We know we can count on the active support of our friends like South Africa."
South Africa's support to India's bid to become a full member of the NSG despite the latter not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is likely to irk China and other nations that are opposed to her entry into the elite club.
Modi secured the backing of the US and most other countries on the matter of entering the NSG but China and a few other countries objected to it. It was also said that South Africa was one among them but New Delhi downplayed it.
Beijing has been firm on its stand that some countries can't be exempted and all should abide by the criterion of signing the NPT to become an NSG member.
President Zuma said India and South Africa would work on expanding co-operation in deep mining, defence, renewable energy and health besides agro-processing, pharmaceuticals and development of infrastructure.
The South African authorities also relaxed the country's visa norms to make it easier for Indian travellers to visit there.