Ahead of President Pranab Mukherjee's arrival in the country, China firmly rejected India's plea to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) â€“ a multinational body that governs nuclear trade.
China's foreign ministry also rebutted India's assertion that France was part of the NSG without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), according to India Today.
"You mentioned that when France joined the NSG it was not a party to the NPT. France was a founder of the NSG so the issue of its acceptance to the NSG did not exist," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
"In-depth" talks on India's admission into the NSG are expected to figure in talks this week after Pakistan also staked claim to join the 48-member group, PTI reported.
President Mukherjee would reportedly arrive in Chinese city of Guangzhou and in Beijing on May 25 during which he is scheduled to hold talks with his counterpart Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.
However, Hua has made it clear that all countries that wish to join the NSG must sign the NPT.
"The NSG is an important component of the non-proliferation regime is founded on the NPT. This is a long term consensus of the international community which was reaffirmed last year by the NPT review convention," Hua was quoted by the agency as saying, adding that this is the reason why the NSG has been taking NPT signatory status as "a must-have standard for acceptance of new members."
PTI reported that China has acknowledged that there were differences among the NSG members as the U.S. is supporting India's attempt to join the group on the basis of its non-proliferation record. NSG members needed "in-depth" talks on the matter, the agency quoted Hua as saying.
"Pakistan is not a party to the NPT. For whether the non-NPT countries can join the NSG there are discussions with in the group and there are major differences that is why China along with other countries have been maintaining that there should be through discussions whether non-NPT countries can join the NSG and decision shall be made upon consensus... This applies to all non-NPT countries including Pakistan," she said.