New Delhi/Beijing, August 13 (The Hindu): Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Saturday. Wang is visiting India for holding talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on various issues of mutual interest. On Friday Wang met Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to review the logistics and security arrangements for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s proposed visit in October to the coastal State for the BRICS summit
As the Chinese Foreign Minister began his three-day visit India visit from Goa, a commentary in the state-run Xinhua news agency that appeared on Friday was not far from linking New Delhi’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with the South China Sea (SCS) issue. The juxtaposition of the two themes, which have recently become a cause for friction between the two countries, appeared under the title, “India should join China in rising above differences, forging closer partnership.”
The write-up underscored that India should not consider that its entry into the NSG is “tightly closed”. It pointed out that “so far, there is no precedent for a non-Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory to become a NSG member”. But it added: “However, New Delhi should not be downhearted as the door to the NSG is not tightly closed. But any future discussions need to be based on safeguarding an international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism, in which India itself has a huge stake.”
Quid pro quo hinted at
Without stating that a quid pro quo could be in the offing, the article, nevertheless followed its observations on India’s stalled bid for the NSG with an elaboration of the SCS issue — especially, highlighting New Delhi’s support for a dialogue “between the parties concerned” during the Foreign Ministerial meeting of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral earlier this year.
“In a joint communiqué issued by the Foreign Ministers of China, India and Russia after they met in Moscow earlier this year, India agreed that the SCS issue should be addressed through talks between the parties concerned,” the commentary observed.
After U.S., Japan stepped into SCS issue
China’s insistence on a direct dialogue among the disputants follows its angst against the involvement of outside powers, especially the United States and Japan, in the SCS arena. China’s sensitivities have been further heightened after an international tribunal at The Hague, in its ruling rejected Beijing’s claims in the SCS.
“Given that the SCS correlates with China’ s vital national interests, it is hoped that India would fully comprehend Beijing’ s concerns, and continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific,” said the commentary.
India has faulted China for blocking its entry in the 48-nation NSG, which controls the global flow of nuclear material and technology. The Xinhua write-up, however, stressed that “India has wrongly blamed China for blocking its entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”
‘Emerging countries will feel cheated’
Earlier in an interview with The Hindu, Han Hua, director for Arms Control and Disarmament at Peking University, had observed that making an exception for India to join the NSG as a nuclear weapon State was also likely to trigger resistance from some emerging countries such as Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, as well as Kazakhstan. These nations, which had given up nuclear weapons capability or atomic weapons at one stage, were bound to “feel cheated” if India was “rewarded” because, unlike them, it persisted in pursuing atomic weapons.
The article noted that the two countries need to work together to keep their disagreements in check, as they entered “a season of intensive top-level diplomatic encounters that could well define the future of their partnership”