Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing last week indicates that New Delhi is undertaking direct diplomacy to obtain China’s support for India’s membership into the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This is as it should be. It was foolish and futile to try and somehow shame China into supporting the Indian cause. Actually, the first round of diplomacy began with President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Beijing last month.
What is not widely known is that the Foreign Secretary, who was accompanying the President, took the opportunity to engage the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a one-on-one meeting.
What transpired in either meeting will not be known, but the success or failure of the effort will soon become evident in the forthcoming NSG meeting in Seoul.
Suffice to say, it will make little difference. India has already sought and obtained a waiver to conduct civil nuclear trade from the body and also pledged to follow its rules, whether or not we are members.
However, it will be a dent in the prestige of the government, which had hyped-up India’s efforts to enter the body to the point where being denied entry will be seen as a major setback.