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China: 'Ready for talks' on India's entry bid to NSG, but consensus essential

President Ji Xinping will travel to Goa to attend the BRICS Summit scheduled to held between October 15-16. In photo: Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Indian PM Narendra Modi on September 4, 2016. Photograph: (Getty)

Beijing, China Oct 10, 2016, 11.41 AM (IST)

China expressed willingness on Monday to discuss India's entry to the Nuclear Suppliers Group ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India.

Briefing the media on President Jinping's visit to take part in the BRICS summit, China's vice foreign minister Li Baodong stressed on the need to build a consensus over the admission of new members in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). When asked if any advance on the issue of India's acceptance into NSG in the meeting between Xi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Summit can be expected, Li said China was ready for discussions to explore possibilities but 'procedures, norms and regulations of the NSG' should be kept up with.

"These rules are not to be decided by China alone. On the issue, China and India have maintained good communication and we are ready to continue consultations with India to build consensus and we also hope India can go to other members of the NSG as well," Li said, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Xi will travel to Goa to attend the BRICS Summit scheduled to held between October 15-16. The BRICS grouping consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The NSG controls global nuclear commerce. Its guidelines prohibit members from entering into nuclear ties with the countries that have not signed the NPT. Neither India nor Pakistan has signed the NPT.

China has consistently opposed India's entry to the Group. Earlier in June, at the annual plenary in Seoul, China argued that if the “Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty signatory” criterion was diluted to admit India into the NSG, it should also open doors for other non-NPT countries like Pakistan. India submitted its application for membership of the NSG on May 12 and Pakistan did so on May 19 this year.

The Chinese vice foreign minister also spoke about China's move to stall India's bid for a United Nations ban on Masood Azhar - head of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Li said that China was "opposed to all forms of terrorism" but no one should pursue their own "political gains in the name of counter-terrorism".

"There should be no double standards on counter- terrorism. Nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism," he said in a veiled reference to India, which is pressing for the UN ban against Azhar over his role in the Pathankot terror attack, reported PTI.

Last week, China had declared a 'technical hold' on India's bid to get Azhar designated as a terrorist by the UN on October 1.

Li added that counter-terrorism cooperation will be a part of the talks in the upcoming Summit. "On counter-terrorism, it is an important area for cooperation among BRICS members for political security. Cooperation on this front will enhance BRICS communication and coordination and will contribute to world peace and security. That is quite obvious."

On Pakistan's absence from the Summit, Li said there was "no attempt to form a clique" to keep any country out. "Such dialogue is transparent. It is an inclusive process and not targeted at any third party," he added.

(WION with inputs from PTI)

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