New Delhi: Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his government’s support for Islamabad’s bid at membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). However, Hussain’s comment flies straight in the face of the Chinese position on the issue.
The Chinese government-run Global Times newspaper had carried an article on Tuesday, opposing the entry of both India and Pakistan to the NSG, a line at odds with the Pakistan President’s talk of support from Beijing.
Hussain and Xi met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Tashkent, on a day the Chinese President is also set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Only granting India the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will shift the balance of power,” Hussain said, reported Pakistani news outlet Geo TV.
China has maintained its opposition to India’s NSG membership bid on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Neither is Pakistan.
China has been walking a very fine line against India’s membership to the NSG, and has found itself increasingly isolated. Not only has India lobbied the NSG nations, but the US too has thrown its heft behind New Delhi.
While the basis of India’s membership bid has been its clean non-proliferation record, US officials revealed on Wednesday that Pakistan continues to proliferate nuclear materials and technology to North Korea.
China’s stand against India has also focused on its questions over the future of the world’s nuclear order, if ‘illegitimate’ nuclear states like India or Pakistan are allowed to join the global nuclear trading regime.
Even as it has said all this, Beijing has repeatedly stated its official line, that China does not oppose India’s bid for membership to the NSG.