Beijing: Acknowledging that India is "inching closer" to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Chinese official media on Thursday said if New Delhi is admitted into the elite grouping, "nuclear balance" between India and Pakistan will be broken.
Stating that India's entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will "shake strategic balance in South Asia and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region", an article in the state-run 'Global Times' however said China could support India's inclusion in the 48 member nuclear club if it "played by rules".
Written by Fu Xiaoqiang research fellow with the state-run think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, the article a second in as many days by the same daily highlights China's strident and vocal opposition to India's entry into NSG and concerns that its all weather ally Pakistan will be left behind because "entry into the NSG will make it (India) a 'legitimate nuclear power'."
"New Delhi seems to have inched closer to NSG membership after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gained backing from the US, Swiss and Mexico in its bid to join the elite nuclear club earlier this month," the article said mentioning for the first time India's progress in getting support from Mexico and Switzerland.
"Becoming a member of the NSG, a bloc that governs civilian nuclear trade worldwide, will grant India global acceptance as a legitimate nuclear power," said the article titled "Beijing could support India's NSG accession path if it plays by rules".
A commentary in the same daily on 14 June had said that India's admission into NSG would "jeopardise" China's national interest and touch a "raw nerve" in Pakistan. "If it joins the group, New Delhi will be able to import civilian nuclear technology and fuels from the international market more conveniently, while saving its domestic nuclear materials for military use," said the article in the Global Times, a tabloid daily which is part of the ruling Communist Party of China group of publications headed by People's Daily.
"The major goal for India's NSG ambition is to obtain an edge over Islamabad in nuclear capabilities. Once New Delhi gets the membership first, the nuclear balance between India and Pakistan will be broken," it said.
"As a result, Pakistan's strategic interests will be threatened, which will in turn shake the strategic balance in South Asia, and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region," it said.
The reason why India has scored a big win in garnering support for its NSG membership from some countries is because Washington has started to treat New Delhi as part of the US alliance, the write-up said.
"It was only several years ago that Modi could not even get a US visa, but now he has visited the US more often than any other country during his two years in office," it said.