India's foreign secretary S Jaishankar has made a surprise visit to Beijing as part of the country's diplomatic charm offensive to gain support for New Delhi's membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG). Jaishankar was on a two-day visit to China during from 16 to 17 June holding talks with his counterpart.
Beijing has been one of the key opposing countries, who have been lobbying for not allowing India to enlist as a member of the NSG. The 48-nation bloc is set to hold a key meeting in Seoul on 24 June during when India's membership is bound to crop up.
"Yes, I can confirm Foreign Secretary visited Beijing on June 16-17 for bilateral consultations with his Chinese counterpart. All major issues, including India's NSG membership, were discussed," said Indian external affairs ministry's spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
China remains against India's membership in the NSG as New Delhi is not yet a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Only a week ahead of Jaishankar's visit, which marks a swift transition of gear in India's diplomatic push, China said India's involvement in NSG would "jeopardise" Beijing's national interests.
Chinese media went on to echo these concerns by saying if India enters the NSG it would "shake the strategic balance in South Asia and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region".
Beijing has also been pushing for Pakistan's membership in the NSG if India needs to be included. Both India and Pakistan, regional rivals, are nuclear powers but are not NPT signatories.
The US and the UK have also thrown their weight behind India's bid, but an array of nations such as Turkey, South Africa, New Zealand and The Republic of Ireland are not happy about India's membership. In his recent trip, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi managed to convince Switzerland and Mexico – both had strong concerns earlier.
India has been lobbying for an NSG membership for several years though it has enjoyed special status and waiver measures in the past. Even if one of the 48 nations in the association is against India's bid, New Delhi's efforts will be scuttled.