New Delhi: India on Thursday hit back at China for saying membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group shouldn’t be US President Barack Obama’s ‘ parting gift’ to New Delhi, and said its bid was based on its non-proliferation record.
“India is not seeking NSG membership as a gift. India is seeking it on its non-proliferation record,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at a briefing here.
“I, of course, cannot speak for other applicants,” he said in an obvious reference to Pakistan, which is also trying to get into the NSG – and has a questionable non-proliferation record.
Swarup’s rebuttal comes days after China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said NSG membership+ can’t be the US’s “parting gift” to India, after a high-ranking Obama administration official said China is an “outlier” with regard to the question of India’s bid.
But despite Chunying’s remark, outgoing US envoy to India Richard Verma on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Donald Trump government will be able to overcome the Chinese hurdle, and help India join the elite group.
“These things are complicated, they take time, they are multilateral. We will have to continue to work with those countries including China which may have some concerns. But I believe, at the end of the day, we we will get there,” Verma said.
China has blocked India’s membership bid despite support from the majority of NSG members, on the grounds that India hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.