New Delhi, June 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today meet Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent in an attempt to win Beijing’s support for India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).(Also Read: India to become permanent SCO member during two-day summit in Uzbekistan today)

Prime Minister Modi will be meeting President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit meeting that is currently on in Tashkent. The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organization which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar yesterday left for Seoul to make a last minute push for New Delhi’s entry into the elite group. This came days after Jaishankar made a two-day trip to China on June 16 and 17 to discuss the matter with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

China, till now, has been playing the role of a dampener on the issue of clearing the way for India’s admission to the NSG by repeatedly stating that it is not on the agenda of the grouping, which began its plenary session in Seoul on Monday. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier insisted that China is not blocking India’s entry to the NSG, but is talking about the criteria and procedures.

“The NSG entry is crucial for India’s energy policy. China is not blocking India’s entry to the NSG. It is only talking about criteria and procedures. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China to support our entry to the NSG,” Swaraj said. However, Beijing said that its stance does not target any particular country, but applies to all non-NPT countries.

“China maintains that the NSG will fully discuss the accession of non-NPT countries and make decisions based on consultation in a way acceptable to all. China’s stance does not target any particular country, but applies to all non-NPT countries,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying.

Hua said China has made it clear that the NSG meetings have never put the accession of any specific non-NPT countries on their agenda. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the upcoming NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul on June 23 will not cover the matter as well.

“It is worth noting that NSG meetings have never put the accession of any specific non-NPT countries on their agenda. The upcoming NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul will not cover this issue either. Therefore, there is no point talking about supporting or opposing the entry of a particular non-NPT country at this moment,” she said.

With India leaving no stone unturned to ensure its entry into the group, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on Thursday in an attempt to win Beijing’s support for India’s membership.

Highly placed sources told ANI that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping would be an exclusive one-on-one discussion, where the top agenda would be to seek China’s support for India’s membership in the NSG.

On the other hand, the United States has called on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application for membership. The plenary discussion on the matter will be held in Seoul tomorrow and the final meeting in which India and Pakistan’s fate in the NSG would be decided will take place on Thursday. However, the Congress Party has firmly stated that India would be able to enter the NSG only if it initiates dialogue with Pakistan and China.

“I think there is no difference in what Pakistan and China are saying. China has on this issue said that there must be a discussion whether to include those who have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).We are not going to become a member of the NSG in the upcoming meeting in Seoul and we will never become unless and until we hold talks in this regard with China and Pakistan,” Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar told ANI.

He also said that there should have been some preparation in this matter and talks should have been held with China in the very beginning, adding that talks with the U.S. were pointless as they were already on our side.

Talking about Swaraj’s confidence in the matter of India being able to convince to China over the NSG bid, Aiyar said, “Sushma Swaraj is a very intelligent person. When she says procedure, she knows very well it could take forever.”

China has maintained that more talks were needed to build a consensus on which countries can join the 48-nation NSG following the United States’ push to include India in the elite group. The countries, who oppose India’s membership, argue that its inclusion in the group would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation and also infuriate New Delhi’s rival Pakistan.

Islamabad, which enjoys the backing of its close ally China, has also responded to India’s membership bid and asked for its admission as well. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had said that the government’s “active and successful foreign policy” has blocked India’s entry into the NSG, adding that New Delhi would not be able to join the group alone.

“We have been successful in preventing India from gaining access to the NSG and I am hopeful that whenever it happens, we will both join it together and India will not be able to join the NSG alone,” the Dawn quoted Aziz as saying.

He also said that he had recently approached many countries, including Russia, Mexico, South Korea and New Zealand, to gain their support on Islamabad’s viewpoint that there should be a criteria-based approach while deciding about inclusion of any country into the NSG.