Extending an olive branch ahead of the BRICS Summit, a senior Chinese diplomat said that China is willing to discuss “possibilities” with India about its bid to become a full-fledged member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is campaigning to join the 48 Member Nuclear Suppliers Group which trades in civil nuclear technology to back a multi-billion-dollar drive to build nuclear power plants in partnership with Russia, the United States and France, and reduce India’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels.
Despite India’s first atomic weapons test in 1974, its bid to win accession to the group had failed to win over China which has a de facto veto because it operates by consensus.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, speaking to media ahead of President Xi Jinping visit to India for BRICS Summit, said that new NSG member need to be agreed upon by all existing members.
“These rules were not set by China,” Li said.
“On the issue of joining the NSG, China and India have all along had very good communications, and (China) is willing to have further communications with the Indian side, to increase consensus,” he said.
“On this, China is willing to jointly explore all kinds of possibilities with India, but this must accord with the charter of the NSG, and certain rules need to be respected by all sides,” added Li.
Countries backing India’s NSG bid, including United States, have expressed hope that a deal can be reached despite the setback at the group’s annual meeting in June.