New Delhi, Apr 11: India and China on Tuesday held a key dialogue on non-proliferation and disarmament during which New Delhi once again tried to convince Beijing to drop its objections at former’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). China has been blocking India’s bid for joining the 48-member NSG, citing its non-signatory status to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Reaching out to China, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Pankaj Sharma met Beijing’s top interlocutor Wang Xun, who heads the disarmament division in the Chinese government. The meeting was a part of series of high-level engagements being pursued by India and China to strengthen ties.
According to the Indian Embassy in Beijing, the two countries exchanged views on various topics of mutual interest, including, developments related to disarmament and non-proliferation at multilateral forums, nuclear issues, role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament as well as outer space.
“Both sides underlined the importance of the bilateral dialogue as an important mechanism between the two countries for consultations on important issues,” the Indian Embassy said in a statement. The meeting was the first between Indian and Chinese interlocutors after New Delhi secured membership of the three export control regimes.
It is not clear whether there was a breakthrough on India’s membership of NSG. India has the backing of the US and a majority of the NSG members, China has been stuck to its stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India’s entry difficult to the elite club.
In June 2016, Beijing opposed India’s application at the NSG’s plenary session in Seoul. It again scuttled India’s bid in the November consultative group meeting. Pakistan has also applied for the NSG membership but China has not openly supported its membership.