India is yet to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) because of China’s strong opposition. Now, the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi has decided to crack the ‘Great Chinese Wall’ to earn the membership of the elite club. The South Asian nation has raised the issue during the fifth round of Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue between the two nations held recently in Beijing.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has said in a statement that Beijing assured New Delhi that it would reconsider India’s role in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. According to the statement, both sides exchanged views on various issues, including disarmament and non-proliferation at multilateral forums.
After the Doklam crisis in 2017, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Keshav Gokhale played an important role in normalising the bilateral ties. Now, the seasoned diplomat plans to discuss India’s NSG membership bid with China again. Last year, the Modi administration made some changes in its ‘China policy’ prepared by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in order to maintain cordial ties with the Asian giant. Gokhale is trying to follow the path shown by former Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Dr Jaishankar had advised the Indian government to make it clear to China that New Delhi would boost trade ties with Beijing, if the Asian powerhouse backed India’s NSG membership bid. According to diplomats, Dr Jaishankar wanted New Delhi to tell Beijing that India’s NSG membership would make it easier for China to help Pakistan get the membership of the same club.
Sources said that Prime Minister Modi would take up the issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting in June. The Indian premier is scheduled to visit China in June to take part in the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) Summit to be held in Qingdao. On the sidelines of the Summit, he will meet the Chinese president. A senior Indian official said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman might visit China later this month. According to the official, the two Indian ministers plan to discuss the issue with the top Chinese leadership ahead of the PM’s visit.
Meanwhile, the External Affairs Ministry official admitted that it would be difficult to convince China, as Director General of Department of Arms Control at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Qun said that Beijing’s position on India’s entry into the NSG remained “unchanged“.
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