The government hopes to persuade China to drop its opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament today.

“We are trying to engage with China. We haven’t stopped. Doesn’t mean they won’t agree, if they didn’t once,” the minister said while refuting the opposition’s accusation that India mishandled its bid for membership of the group that controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.

In June, at an NSG meeting in Seoul, China led a bloc of nations that said because India has not signed the main global arms pact or Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it should not be granted entry to the NSG.

Opposition leaders have said that the government should have handled India’s application with more behind-the-scenes strategy than the high-profile push that included a last-minute appeal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Xi Jinping at a regional summit in Tashkent that brought no breakthrough.

“It is wrong to say we created hype. When we gave our application (in May), we kept it low-key. Yes, we made full effort after that. But China created a procedural hurdle,” Ms Swaraj said in parliament.

China’s blocking of India’s bid has been read by analysts as Beijing’s determination to curtail the influence of India and demonstrate its power to the US, which has volubly pushed India’s cause. America, which has a nuclear cooperation deal with India, considers it a nuclear power that plays by the rules and is not a proliferator, and wants to bring Asia’s third largest economy into the 48-member group.