To join NSG, India must avoid defence ties with US, says China

India should comply with nuclear non-proliferation rules and have an independent foreign policy to win China's support for its bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chinese media said on Thursday.

India is not qualified to be a member of the NSG but is inching closer to entering the nuclear trading group with Washington's support so as ''to obtain an edge over Islamabad in nuclear capabilities'', said an opinion piece in the nationalistic tabloid Global Times.

China can push India's case too but there are riders, it said, indicating that becoming the US's military ally will not help New Delhi's case with Beijing.

 ''As long as all NSG members reach a consensus over how a non-NPT member could join the NSG, and India promises to comply with stipulations over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons while sticking to its policy of independence and self-reliance, China could support New Delhi's path toward the club,'' said the piece by Fu Xiaoqiang of the influential state-run think tank China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR).

The state-controlled media has focussed on India's NSG bid and China's position but has been looking at the issue through the Pakistan prism – how Islamabad will lose out if New Delhi enters the nuclear club, and If India can become a member, why can't Pakistan?

''Once New Delhi gets the membership first, the nuclear balance between India and Pakistan will be broken. 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,'' the article said.

''Yet before that, a fair and just principle must be made through common consensus of all current members of the NSG, rather than US and India's reckless pushing at the cost of rule-breaking.''

Fu's article described India as a ''defence ally'' ally of the US and said is it is getting American support – and this is clearly not something that Beijing likes.

''Over the years, the US has been bending the rules to back India's nuclear projects. Against the backdrop of Washington's accelerated pace of promoting its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it will be highly likely to keep supporting New Delhi's nuclear ambitions, in order to make it a stronger power to contain China,'' it said.

China, the article said, is a ''crucial defender of the international system against nuclear proliferation''. It added, ''China does not wish to see the political and legal foundation of global nuclear security to be challenged by any party who does not abide by rules.''

The article further said, ''So far, all NSG members have signed the NPT. So the question is, if any non-signatory of the treaty wants to join the group, under what condition can it be accepted? If such a standard is to be made one day, then it will be possible for both India and Pakistan to become part of the group.''

The article did not mention that it is China which has consistently helped Pakistan build its nuclear technology and plants.