NSG, Azhar issues to figure in Mukherjee's talks with Xi

NSG, Azhar issues to figure in Mukherjee's talks with Xi

NSG, Azhar issues to figure in Mukherjee's talks with Xi

China's opposition to India's membership in the elite NSG and its action blocking the UN move to ban JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist are expected to figure prominently during President Pranab Mukherjee's talks with the top Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

Mukherjee, who is making his first visit as head of state but has made a number of trips to China in various capacities during his long political career, is expected to convey India's concerns on these issues and present India's views on how it felt strongly on them, sources said.

The President, who arrived today in southern China's Guangzhou city on the first leg of his four-day visit, will have one-on-one meeting with President Xi on Thursday besides holding delegation-level talks with him. He will also meet Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang.

Issues of mutual interest like the festering border dispute and ongoing mechanism to resolve the problem will figure in the President's discussions with the Chinese leadership.

New Delhi's stand on the nuclear issue assumes significance in the context of the scheduled meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in South Korea next month when it is expected to make its bid strongly for membership of the nuclear club.

The sources said that India's membership of the NSG was a logical culmination of its efforts in pursuing its peaceful objective of a civil nuclear programme and there could be no comparison with others.

At the same time, India has no objection to Pakistan's membership of the NSG but is opposed to China's attempt to bracket the two countries together on the issue, Indian officials say.

The sources said China was free to canvas for Pakistan in its quest for nuclear programme but it should not rake up any bogey in a bid to checkmate India.

They also rejected Beijing's new insistence on India signing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty for gaining membership of the NSG or its dismissal of New Delhi's stand that France had not signed the NPT when it became a member of the NSG.

Officials pointed out the NSG is a consensus-based regime and not a treaty.

Officials said that the visit of the President was more than ceremonial or reciprocal because of the fact he carries some heft in view of his long political career and the different portfolios he had during that period including external affairs and defence portfolios.

Also the President is expected to convey India's concerns over China blocking the UN move on Azhar at a time when there was need for a collective fight against global terror.

Sources felt that Beijing's stand on these two issues could be seen as an attempt to placate it's "all-weather" ally Islamabad.

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