Sushma Swaraj
Sushma SwarajReuters

Indicating that India's bid to be included in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is still a contentious issue, China on Monday said the bid was not going to be discussed in the Seoul plenary next month. The statement comes a day after Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said India was hopeful of convincing China to not oppose its membership.

"The inclusion of non-NPT members has never been a topic on the agenda of NPT meetings. In Seoul this year there is no such topic," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying was quoted as saying by the Hindu.

Meanwhile, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India's bid for NSG membership would be raised in the Seoul plenary, which will be attended by its 48 members. He also advised against "needless speculation." 

Hua had raised three issues regarding the India's country's membership bid to the NSG. She had said the 48-member bloc was divided over a non-NPT country becoming a member. She added that China was hopeful the NSG would hold discussions and seek consensus from members, and finally that China was unwilling to make an exception for India. 

However, Swaraj on Sunday indicated China was only talking about "criteria and process."

"China is not opposing membership of India in NSG, it is only talking of criteria and procedure. I am hopeful that we would be able to convince China as well to support our entry to the NSG," Swaraj said on Sunday. Her remarks came after a two-day visit of Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar's visit to China.

India's bid for membership to the coveted elite group has been making headlines ever since China voiced its opposition. The U.S., the U.K., Switzerland and Mexico have openly come out in support of allowing India into the group, despite it being a non-NPT country. India's history of being a non-proliferator has been taken into account when the western nations endorsed India.

However, China has been harping on the process of application and raised concerns over India being a non-NPT nation. It also said if India's application for membership was being considered, Pakistan's membership should also be considered, which is unlikely as the neighbouring country has been found to be a proliferator of nuclear weapons.