China reiterated on Friday (14 October) that it was neither willing to change its position on India's membership bid to join the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), nor accept India's request to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the United Nations.
The comments from China are likely to upset Delhi as it has come ahead of the Brics summit that India is hosting on Saturday (14 October) in Goa. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise both the issues when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit.
Xi's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that despite some "disputes" China and India have made "great headway" in its relations. However, Beijing would remain firm in its stand on the issues of NSG and Azhar, who is the alleged mastermind behind a terrorist attack in India, he said.
Modi has tried to coax the Chinese president several times in the recent past to get a green signal for its NSG membership, which has already got the backing of several other countries including, the US, the UK, France and Japan.
During the last plenary meeting held in June, China had blocked India's membership request. But this time, Delhi is said to have an edge in the bargain with China as it had secured its entry into the Missiles Technology Control Regime (MTCR), where Beijing is reported to be seeking a membership.
India is the only country in the Brics group that is not a member in the 48-member elite NSG club.
"I have stated China's position. I would like to reiterate that the UN committee dealing with the listing does it according to provisions of the UN charter," The Hindu quoted Geng as saying, when he was asked about India's attempt to ban Azhar following the 2 January Pathankot attack.
India named Azhar among six Pakistan-based terrorists for carrying out the terror attack at the Indian Air Force base in which seven soldiers were killed. Banning the JeM chief is said to be a major bone of contention between China and India.
"All parties are divided in listing of the relevant people. And this is why China has put on hold [the banning of Azhar]," Geng said. "This will give enough time to make the listing decision and also shows the responsible and professional attitude of the Chinese side."
The leaders from five emerging economies — Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa — are meeting in Goa for a two-day summit on Saturday (15 October). They are expected to discuss a range of issues covering economy, international cooperation and security to defence.
India is also reported to likely rake up the ongoing tensions with its arch rival Pakistan.