Sat, Oct 22, 2016 | updated 03:35 AM IST

China does not want to de-friend India at cost of Pakistan, says former foreign secretary

Updated: Oct 12, 2016 08:52 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct 12 (ANI): Ahead of the weekend meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, China has said that it is ready to have talks with India on the latter's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Former foreign secretary Bhupatray Shashank on Wednesday said China does not want to de-friend India at the cost of Pakistan.

Shashant told ANI, "China is saying that India has to negotiate with all the members of the NSG. So, it's not a bilateral issue."

"China is trying to divert attention from its own role in blocking India's entry into NSG by saying 'look you have not spoken to others and they are others, who are blocking it," he added.

When asked about banning Azhar Masood, Shashank said China is trying to put pressure on both India and Pakistan.

"On one hand telling India that cannot clear Azhar Masood's name on the terror list and on other hand they are telling Pakistan that look they must do something quickly so that China is not embarrassed and is not singled out for this purpose," he added.

"So, you have to keep in mind all these factors that China on one hand does not want to de-friend India at the cost of Pakistan and secondly it does not totally alienate India. So therefore," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet President Xi tomorrow at the BRICS summit in Goa, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Earlier, China's Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, defending his country's blocking of India's petition for a UN ban on Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed, said, "No one should pursue "political gains in the name of counter-terrorism."

India has blamed the Jaish-e-Mohammed for January's attack on the air force base in Pathankot and last month's terror strike on an army base in Uri in Kashmir, in which 19 soldiers were killed.

China has twice thwarted India's move for Azhar to be added by the United Nations Security Council to blacklisted groups that are linked to al Qaeda or ISIS. It also led a small group of countries in June that opposed India being made a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG, which has 48 members who trade in civil nuclear technology. Both moves are seen as Beijing's extension of support to ally Pakistan.

In April, China was the sole among 15 member-countries of the Security Council to veto the ban on Azhar, which would stop him from travelling internationally and freeze his assets. Days before the veto or "technical hold" was to expire at the end of last month, China renewed it.

Last week, Vikas Swarup, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said that India would ask China to reconsider its stand, seen as a significant extension of support to ally Pakistan.

About the NSG, China's Vice Foreign Minister said "These rules are not to be decided by China alone... we are ready to continue consultations with India to build consensus and we also hope India can go to other members of the NSG as well."

To prevent India's entry, China has said that the NSG's rules disallow a member who has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India has said it will not surrender its national interest by signing the accord, but its track record of non-proliferation should entitle it to join the NSG. India was granted an NSG waiver in 2008 that allows it to engage in nuclear commerce, but deprives it of a vote in the organisation's decision making.(ANI)