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NSG Membership Can’t be US Gift to India, Says China

As China reacted adversely to the Obama administration’s reference to India’s membership bid to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) saying it cannot be a parting gift to a country unless it signs NPT, the outgoing US envoy Richard Verma said eventually the Chinese hurdle would be overcome.

In his farewell address, Mr Verma said US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry had pushed for India’s membership to the NSG and he said the Trump administration would carry it forward, despite opposition from Bijing, which brushed it aside saying admission of non-NPT signatories in NSG cannot be a “farewell gift” for countries to give to each other.

Mr. Verma said, “This is something we will keep working on together. There is a lot of support for India’s membership as we said we strongly support India’s accession in the NSG. 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.”

Mr. Verma, a political appointee by the Obama Administration, is returning home before Republican Donald Trump takes over as American President on January 20. He said the US has been strongly supporting India’s bid at the NSG, besides its membership at a reformed UN Security Council and other international institutions.

China has been blocking India’s bid for the NSG despite support from a majority of members saying that India is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). “I just want to point out that NSG membership shall not be some kind of farewell gift for countries to give to each other,” said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson in reaction to Obama’s statement.

China, an ally of Pakistan, wants a two-step approach for admission of countries who have not signed the NPT — Find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT countries followed by discussions on admitting specific nations, which eventually allows Pakistan as well.

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