Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday seemed to disagree with South Block’s public comments on China blocking India’s bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). He advocated stronger India-China ties.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Yashwant Sinha was more forthright in criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies, both on NSG and Pakistan. Sinha termed the efforts to be an NSG member as “misguided”. He criticised the PM’s Pakistan policy in the light of the terrorist attack in Pampore. “I say this strongly that India should not accept the NSG membership. We should not go there as an applicant. Whatever we had to get, we have got it,” 83-year-old Sinha said.
Meanwhile, South Block expressed hope that the nuclear export control group could take up the issue of India’s membership at its proposed meeting by the end of the year.
Sinha, who has more than once criticised the PM and party president Amit Shah, said India has already got what it needed from NSG by the 2008 waiver and had more to lose than gain by now becoming a member.
On Modi’s Pakistan policy, Sinha said “nothing” has come out, or will.
Returning to India after a six-day China tour, Chouhan said in Bhopal that dialogue with Beijing should continue, despite it having opposed India’s NSG membership. “Dialogue with China should continue to strengthen economic ties. Both countries have their own national interests,” he said.
Asked about China having opposed India’s NSG bid, Chouhan said the Chinese were keen to strengthen ties with India because of business opportunities. He said that Sany Group of China was looking forward to invest $1 billion in Madhya Pradesh, including for a 500-Mw wind energy project.
The Modi government has faced political embarrassment after China, along with at least half dozen other countries, frustrated Delhi’s efforts to have the recently concluded NSG plenary session in Seoul discuss India’s membership application as part of its official agenda.
On Friday, ministry of external affairs singled out China for putting “persistent” obstacles in India’s path, when only until a week back government sources were advising media to not “demonise” China. The government also issued a veiled threat that it might be unable to move forward on the Paris Climate Change agreement or fulfil its INDCs (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) envisaging 40 per cent non-fossil power generation capacity by 2030.
The NSG, meanwhile, could meet again before the end of the year, especially to discuss the process of granting membership to non-nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries, like India. China and others had argued that current NSG guidelines do not allow for entry of non-NPT countries like India.
As for China, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “We will keep impressing upon China that mutual accommodation of interests, concerns and priorities is necessary to move forward bilateral ties.” He said though India did not get “expected results” at the Seoul meeting, New Delhi would continue to make determined efforts to get into NSG. According to government sources, a panel for informal consultations on India’s membership has been set up by the NSG, headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.
In Beijing, Chinese foreign Mministry has said that Beijing’s opposition at NSG, a multilateral platform, would not impact the India-China ties adversely.
Sinha’s son, Jayant, is the junior minister for finance. Sinha was kept out of the government ostensibly because he was above 75 years. Sinha, 83, had earlier said people like him have been categorised as “brain dead” by the party.
Sinha had served as the External Affairs Minister and had also handled the Finance portfolio during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.