NEW DELHI: Although India remains optimistic about its entry into the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China, whose support is critical, said differences remain among NSG members over the inclusion of new countries and added that the issue was not even on the agenda of the meeting in Seoul starting Monday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “We understand that non-NPT countries are concerned about their entry. But since the NSG is still divided over the issue, it is not mature to talk about the entry issue in the Seoul conference.” The NSG agenda has never covered any issue concerning the non-NPT countries joining the group, Hua added.

The Chinese remarks came just a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj raised hopes saying India was confident about getting into the the 48-member group this year. “China is not opposing India’s entry into NSG, it is only talking about criteria and procedure. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG,” Sushma had said.

The group seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment, and technology that can also be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Hua said that China’s position was not directed against any country and applied to all non-NPT states.“China maintains that the NSG should have a thorough discussion on the joining of the non-NPT countries in a way agreed by all parties, so as to make…

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