Beijing, June 21:

China is no barrier to India’s NSG membership, says a leading state-run Chinese daily even as it clubbed India and Pakistan together in their quest for membership to the elite nuclear club, saying just allowing New Delhi entry would create “another bigger problem”.

Pic Courtesy:
Pic Courtesy:

In an op-ed in the Global Times, Long Xingchun, research fellow at the Charhar Institute and director of the Center for Indian Studies at China West Normal University, also takes a very kind view of Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record, blaming it only on nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Long also slams the US for “casting its eyes on India’s nuclear market” as the reason for its backing New Delhi’s candidature.

In comments that come just ahead of the plenary at Seoul of the 48-member nuclear grouping, the writer says: “India joining NSG does not harm China’s own interests. India advocates nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament and commits itself to no-first-use of nuclear weapons as China does. It could also help enhance bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energies. Measures that can boost mutual trust could be established among China, India and Pakistan, the three nuclear powers in Asia.”

It pits both India and Pakistan together in their pursuit for NSG membership, saying both countries have not inked the Non Proliferation Treaty.

“The US even signed with India a Civil Nuclear Agreement and backs India’s bid to join NSG. But the issue of the legitimacy of India’s “nuclear status” has not been solved.

“If India and Pakistan are allowed to join the NPT and adopt the CTBT, it will tarnish the authority of both. How can nuclear weapon development in other countries such as North Korea, Iran and Israel be dealt with?

“If the US is sincere in supporting India’s NSG membership, it should not just cast its eyes on India’s nuclear market. It should solve India’s “nuclear status” first so as to eradicate the contradictions between India and the existing international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism.

“While India strives for NSG inclusion, it prevents Pakistan from joining by insisting on the latter’s bad record of nuclear proliferation.

“Actually, the proliferation carried out by Pakistan was done by Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s chief nuclear scientist, and was not an official policy of the Pakistani government. Khan was punished by the government afterward with several years of house arrest. If the NPT and the NSG can give India an exemption, it should apply to Pakistan as well.

“China and other countries oppose to NSG including India while excluding Pakistan, because it means solving India’s problem but creating another bigger problem. If India joins hands with Pakistan to seek NSG membership, it seems more pragmatic than joining alone,” he suggests.

Long’s piece voices China’s official view of backing Pakistan, its all-weather friend, for NSG membership.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to meet in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting this week, when the NSG issue is expected to be taken up.