China deflects India’s criticism over nuke deal

Beijing, September 9:

China today deflected criticism from the Indian media and at least one senior official who accused Beijing of trying to block a landmark deal that paved the way for the US to sell peaceful nuclear technology to New Delhi.

India’s National Security Adviser MK Narayanan, a top aide to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was quoted as saying in news reports that India was “disappointed” because China backed those against the proposal, which was nonetheless approved Saturday by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG). Narayanan reportedly said India had expected more from his Chinese counterparts.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said today that Beijing’s stance “couldn’t be more clear.”

“As a matter of fact, China has taken part in the NSG discussion in a responsible and constructive manner and has made contributions to the final progress of the discussion,” she said.

Some Indian newspapers hinted that India would make its displeasure known to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on his two-day visit that ends today. However, the Indian government did not say whether it had done so.

Jiang did not say whether the nuclear accord was discussed during Yang’s meetings. But she said that during talks between Yang and his Indian counterpart, the leaders agreed “to properly handle each others’ concerns to promote bilateral relations.”

Prior to the meeting of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group in Vienna, China urged caution in any deal supplying India with nuclear fuel and technology.

Beijing said the peaceful use of nuclear energy had to be balanced against concerns about weapons development.