Washington D.C., June 24: With tensions simmering as China remains resolute on its stand regarding India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the United States has called on both nations to pursue a ‘healthy, bilateral’ relationship in everyone’s interest, by having strong vehicles for dialogue.

Responding to reports that China is ‘punishing’ India because of the ongoing U.S.-India relations which it disapproves, State Department spokesperson John Kirby asserted that the Barack Obama-led Government had time and again made it clear about how seriously it wants India’s application into the elite group.(Also Read: China leads opposition to India’s NSG bid at post-dinner meet)

“But if you’re asking me a broader question about would we favor healthy bilateral relations between India and China, of course we would. We wouldn’t stand in the way of that at all. But to say if there’s tensions there over this or any other matter, it’s really for those two nations to speak to,” Kirby said.

Emphasizing on the importance of China and India having a healthy relationship, Kirby added that as long as both nations had avenues to have dialogues to discuss disagreements, complete concurrence in all issues was not a prerequisite to a successful bilateral affiliation.

“I think we would like to see healthy bilateral relations between India and China. We’d like to see them work out whatever differences they have. We have differences with China and we have strong vehicles for dialogue to try to work through them. It doesn’t mean we get to complete agreement on everything, but we have vehicles and avenues to have a healthy discussion. We would welcome that between India and China,” Kirby said.

Asserting that both India and China are strong, growing economies with a large population and a significant global influence, the spokesperson reiterated that believe it would be in everyone’s interest to have India and China have good, healthy bilateral relationship.

Yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Tashkent and urged Beijing to make a fair and objectives assessment of New Delhi’s application to the NSG and to judge it on its own merit.

Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that Prime Minister Modi had asked China to contribute to the emerging consensus in the ongoing NSG plenary meeting in Seoul.

China had earlier on Wednesday again change track on India’s entry into the elite club, saying only applications of those countries that signed an atomic Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will be considered.

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.