Beijing's Response to PM Modi's Efforts: US Wants Nuclear India to Keep China in Check
NEW DELHI: China has used its official media -the Global Times--to spell out its view on India’s frenetic efforts to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. And made it clear in the process that there was no question of changing its current “No” into a “Yes” in the foreseeable future. And in the process underlined what are clearly deteriorating relations between Beijing and New Delhi.
It cites two major reasons, that have little to do with Pakistan despite the propaganda in sections of the Indian media. And significantly places in the public realm what till now were just murmurs in Delhi’s foreign establishment.
One, China makes it very clear---through this article---that the US is using India to “put China in check.” It states very categorically that “Washington views New Delhi as a balancing actor in its pivot to the Asia-Pacific strategy.” And that its supply of nuclear technologies to “enhance India's deterrence capability is to put China in check.”
And two, both the US and India do not seem to be concerned about regional safety arising from this. “So far, South Asia is still facing the harsh reality that the region is mired in nuclear confrontation.” And it is here that Pakistan comes in, but again in a very different manner than what has been projected by “sources” in sections of the media.
The Opinion piece, in fact, makes it clear that unlike the propaganda, China is not supporting Pakistan for a place on the nuclear high table. In fact the parity that it is supposed to be extending Pakistan with India exists not in getting a membership of the NSG but in both staying out of it.
It states very clearly, “only when New Delhi and Islamabad take another step forward in their nonproliferation commitments can the region avoid being dragged into a nuclear confrontation.” Implicit in this last sentence of the article is that neither of the two countries have moved sufficiently on this to satisfy China’s concerns about a possible nuclear race in South Asia.
The opinion article stated very clear that in China’s view both India and Pakistan are very alert about each other’s nuclear capabilities; and that India’s application for NSG membership will touch a “raw nerve” in Pakistan and lead to a “nuclear race.” This, the article makes clear will not only “paralyze regional security, but also jeopardize China’s national interests” that the article states are based on a peaceful regional and global environment.
The article opens with a sardonic reference to PM Modi’s recent foreign travels to Switzerland, US and Mexico is sardonic with “China is well aware about the reasons for PM Modi’s diplomatic journey, traveling halfway across the world with his top goal to garner support for his country's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”
It acknowledges, in yet another first, that China’s opposition to India’s membership of the NSG from China has “irritated” India. Interestingly, at a time when New Delhi seems to be insisting that it has the support of most countries for its application, the article reflecting the Chinese official view speaks of the opposition to India “from most countries.”
It refers to the media campaign against China where the article refers to the Indian media calling its stance “obstructionist”. And goes on to speak of the close alliance between India and the US, where the former hopes that with Washington’s “support” it can “advance” its development; and that the US wants to sell its nuclear technology to India and hence is interested in pushing for the NSG membership.
The NSG is expected to review the application on June 24 at its plenary meeting being held at Seoul. China, is clearly not willing, to withdraw its objections with several countries---including South Africa and Ireland---being of the same view.
The Global Times article reads :
Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a diplomatic journey, traveling halfway across the world with his top goal to garner support for his country's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The plenary meeting of the group is expected to be held in Seoul, South Korea on June 24.
The US and some NSG members have given a push to India's membership bid, but the reported opposition from most countries, especially China, seems to have irritated India. Beijing insists that a prerequisite of New Delhi's entry is that it must be a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while India is not. Despite acknowledging this legal and systematic requirement, the Indian media called China's stance "obstructionist."
India has its own calculations for joining the NSG. Eyeing retaining the fastest growing economy tag, India's access to the NSG, a body that regulates the global trade of nuclear technology, is expected to open up the international market for India's domestic nuclear energy program. Meanwhile, with the support of the US, India can advance its development in this regard.
The deliberations of the US are also clear. With India's NSG membership, the US, the world's largest producer of nuclear power, can sell its nuclear technology to India. A US company is set to build six nuclear reactors in India, an agreement made between the two countries during Modi's recent visit to the US.
Beyond cooperation in the nuclear sector, Washington views New Delhi as a balancing actor in its pivot to the Asia-Pacific strategy. Its supply of nuclear technologies to enhance India's deterrence capability is to put China in check.
What is missing in US and Indian motives are concerns for regional security. So far, South Asia is still facing the harsh reality that the region is mired in nuclear confrontation.
India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region, keep alert to each other's nuclear capabilities. India's application for NSG membership and its potential consequences will inevitably touch a raw nerve in Pakistan, its traditional rival in the region. As Pakistan is not willing to see an enlarging gap in nuclear power with India, a nuclear race is a likely outcome. This will not only paralyze regional security, but also jeopardize China's national interests.
China insists on peaceful development. A peaceful regional and global environment is in the interests of all stakeholders. China's concern about India's inclusion into the NSG comes out of the security dynamic in South Asia. Only when New Delhi and Islamabad take another step forward in their nonproliferation commitments can the region avoid being dragged into a nuclear confrontation.