External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said India will not oppose the entry of Pakistan or any other country into the NSG but asserted that the decision on all applications should be decided on merits.
“Hum China ko bhi mananey mein kamyabi hasil kar lenge (We will succeed in convincing China too),” she told the media here.
Answering questions, she said China “is not opposed to India’s entry” into the 48-nation NSG but it was “only talking about the criteria procedures” to New Delhi’s entry to the nuclear grouping.
Sushma Swaraj’s remarks came close on the heels of External Affairs Secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing to discuss India’s NSG bid with Chinese government.
State-run Chinese media has said that Beijing was opposed to India becoming a member of the NSG when it had not signed the NPT — unless its nuclear armed rival Pakistan was also taken on board.
To a question on Pakistan also trying to get NSG membership, the minister said: “Look, India is not a member in the group. But we will not oppose entry of any other country. What we want is all the applications are decided on their own merits.”
However, Sushma Swaraj countered Beijing’s stand over “criteria”, saying: “Instead of talking about criteria in our case, there should be talk about relations.”
She insisted that with regard to India, the issue of “criteria” vis-a-vis NSG was addressed in 2008 when the waiver was granted to it.
Fielding questions on India-Pakistan relations, she said while bilateral ties are “jatil” (complicated), New Delhi was firm that talks and terrorism cannot go together.
She said there was “sehejta” (simplicity) in the chemistry involving Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.
“This warmth and simplicity in relations between two Prime Ministers were never there in the past,” she said. “To resolve problems, you also need good relationship.”
Sushma Swaraj said unlike in the past, there had been a significant change in Pakistan’s policy towards terror strikes in India.
“Earlier whenever there used to be any terrorist activity, Pakistan used to go in denial mood. But after Pathankot attack, Nawaz Sharif himself called our Prime Minister and he said you give me proof, I will definitely take appropriate action.”
The minister, however, maintained, it will be erroneous to suggest that “in order to maintain a harmonious relation, we will be either careless or neglect security”.
She said India’s approach towards Pakistan was essentially based on three key aspects: all problems should be resolved through talks, no involvement of a third party, and terror and talks cannot go together.
“In all these three aspects, our government has been successful.”
The minister denied that South Asia was not getting adequate priority in the Modi government’s foreign policy.
“In the last two years, India has emerged as a strong supporter and a friend in crisis to neighbouring countries,” she said, referring to New Delhi’s help to Nepal during the massive earthquake of 2015.