|Manthan Chheda |||Jun 20, 2016 02:18 AM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is confident of China's support over India's application to become a member of the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Days after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made a secret two-day visit to China to seek its support for the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) membership, India's Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, said she's hopeful of securing Beijing's backing over its entry into the elite group.
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Swaraj said that China was no longer opposing India's NSG membership and was only concerned about India's "criteria and procedure" to join the group as a member.
"China is not opposing membership of India in NSG, it is only talking of criteria and procedure," said Swaraj. "I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG."
She added that both countries have reached a consensus and was confident that India will become an NSG member before the year ends, which she said was "crucial for India's energy policy."
Swaraj also noted that she has been speaking to 23 nations and only a couple of them have raised concerns but she is hopeful of an agreement.
India's NSG membership will be one of the topics of discussion at a plenary meeting of the 48-member group in Seoul on June 23-24.
When asked about Pakistan's application to the NSG, Swaraj said that she cannot comment on its neighbors entry into the group since India is not an NSG member but stated that there were be no opposition from India's side against any country and that each country's application should be considered on the basis of merit.
Earlier in the day, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup confirmed that Jaishankar's visit to Beijing took place on June 16-17, where "all major issues, including India's membership to NSG" were discussed.
Earlier this month, China strongly opposed India's entry into the NSG, citing that New Delhi had not yet signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is a prerequisite to join the elite group, as previously reported.
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