WEB DESK: To utter dismay of Indians what New Delhi expects China to concede during President Xi Jinping’s upcoming visit stands preempted. Days ahead of the Brics summit at Goa, which is surely dominated by South Asian tensions, Vice-Foreign Minister Li Baodong said while China would be willing to explore possibility of India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but that would require consensus and attention to its rules.
“On this issue, China’s position is consistent. That is why China has often said international law must be observed.” The other issue Prime Minister Narendra Modi would like to take up with the Chinese leader on the sidelines of the Brics summit is its “technical hold” to put a ban on Jaish-e-Muhammad Chief Masood Azhar under al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Security Council.
On this Li was equally explicit: “China is opposed to all forms of terrorism. There should be no double standards on counter-terrorism, nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism.” Many in India may say India got put paid for China’s expected support for its all-weather friend Pakistan.
But more than that, it is China’s principle position both on membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and counter-terrorism. Even if membership to the NSG is independent of a candidate’s position on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) China is for consensus over admission of new members. Given that admission as member is subject to absolute consensus of all members by admitting India and not Pakistan the latter would lose its chance of ever getting into this elite club.
“These rules cannot be decided by China alone,” Li said. Others including Australia, New Zealand and South Africa too opposed the Indian bid for membership. And also in line with its position China has unilaterally taken it up with both India and Pakistan, asking them not only they should reconcile their positions bilaterally, but also reach out to other members whose consensus is an absolute necessity for the NSG membership.
Of course, given India’s huge market potential some of the NSG members feel obliged to press for its exclusive admission but the Chinese government, despite having quite active trade and business relationship with India, is not prepared to ditch its principled stand on membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Not that the Indian take on Masood Azhar came up at Li Baodong’s encounter with the media. It is Indian media and the Narendra Modi’s BJP that tends to see Chinese technical hold on banning Masood Azhar as a pro-Pakistan move, and therefore a spicy subject of discussion on the eve of President Xi’s expected meeting with the Indian prime minister. Counter-terrorism is certainly a universal issue, and so it is on the agenda of the Brics summit also. China too is fighting its war on terrorism, and holds no soft corner for any terrorist; much less Masood Azhar who, according to India, was involved in the Pathankot attack.
But India has been seeking UN Security Council-mandated sanctions against him even when there is no cogent proof of his involvement. What China says is that it cannot be a party to any move which as of now is nothing but merely a propaganda against another country, which in this case happens to be Pakistan. The Chinese also don’t agree with quite a few other India’s anti-Pakistan moves. India’s decision to completely seal border with Pakistan doesn’t sit well with the Chinese intelligentsia.
“India is making a very irrational decision, since no exhaustive investigation has been conducted after the Uri incident, and no evidence proves Pakistan is behind it,” says the Global Times quoting a senior fellow of a think tank. Another said a sealed border would only disrupt peace efforts made by the two sides that are Pakistan and India.
Source: Business Recorder