New Delhi: China on Wednesday said it will play a "constructive" role in the discussions on India's bid for membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) but at the same maintained that the issue was not on the agenda of the NSG meeting in Seoul.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that NSG members had three rounds of unofficial discussions on the entry of India and Pakistan into the grouping. "China hopes to discuss further this issue and will play a constructive role in the discussions," she said.
With China leading the opposition against India's entry into the elite Nuclear Supplier's Group (NSG), New Delhi is in a diplomatic overdrive to reach out to countries to support its bid.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar , who was closely monitoring the goings-on during the officials' level meet of the 48-nation grouping which started on Monday, left for the South Korean capital to lobby with members to boost India's prospects of getting membership.
Senior External Affairs Ministry Official Amandeep Singh Gill, in-charge of 'Disarmament & International Security' division, is already in Seoul to "garner" support as well as "explain" India's case, sources said.
However, China continues to stonewall India's bid for NSG membership with the members divided over the entry of a non-NPT signatory country like India.
The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country's vote against India will scuttle its bid.
While majority of the elite group members backed India's membership, it is understood that apart from China, countries like Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand were not in favour of India's entry into the NSG.
China maintains opposition to India's entry, arguing that it has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). However, it has been batting for its close ally Pakistan's entry if NSG extends any exemption for India.
India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG as there has been a precedent in this regard, citing the case of France.
India is seeking membership of NSG to enable it to trade in and export nuclear technology....