Brand-new DELHI: China drew and toed a fine line on Tuesday to defend its position over
India’s attempts at a membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). An op-ed in the Chinese state-run Global Times newspaper bunched India and Pakistan together in demanding similar concessions. It additionally played apologist for Pakistan’s poor nuclear proliferation record, blaming it on one man and absolving Islamabad.
The Global Times article comes on a day that the NSG plenary began in Seoul.
“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 additionally help enhance bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energies,” read the Global Times article.
However, any non-negative tone the article might have actually tried to strike ended there. “While India strives for NSG inclusion, it prevents Pakistan from joining by insisting on the latter’s bad record of nuclear proliferation,” the article said.
It then tried to de-link Pakistan’s poor nuclear non-proliferation record by resorting to Islamabad’s favourite ‘non-state actor’ formula. “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 along with several years of residence arrest,” the Global Times article argued.
The article continued to bunch India and Pakistan together, saying, “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 along with Pakistan to seek NSG membership, it appears more pragmatic than joining alone.”
The bulk of the article however focussed on what External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had characterised on Sunday as ‘criteria and procedure’, while explaining that China was not opposed to India’s NSG bid but was concerned over whether it met the criteria for membership.
The Global Times article delved at length into India and Pakistan’s status as ‘illegitimate’ nuclear powers as they had conducted nuclear weapon tests after the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) came into force in 1996. It said the direct obstacle for India joining the NSG is that it has actually not signed the NPT or any other regional non-proliferation pact, and pointed out that Norway, Brand-new Zealand and South Africa too have actually expressed reservations.
“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?”
The article additionally took a shot at the
US for its support to India’s membership bid . It said the US “should solve India’s ‘nuclear status’ first so as to eradicate the contradictions between India and the existing worldwide nuclear non-proliferation mechanism.”
The Chinese state-run newspaper however gave India credit for its clean non-proliferation record, saying, “Despite not being an NSG member, India has actually been sticking to NSG guidelines and implementing rigorous export control policies to prevent nuclear proliferation. It additionally meets the last requirement and was confessed to membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) early this month.”