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Why China is afraid of Indian entry to NSG?

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain in Wuzhen Town, east China's Zhejiang Province (File)

China has made it plainly clear that it will block India’s entry into NSG, till its ally Pakistan is welcomed into the nuclear trading group.  The Chinese objections are pegged on some ‘procedural’ matters….writes Syed Shihabudeen

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain in Wuzhen Town, east China's Zhejiang Province (File)
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain in Wuzhen Town, east China’s Zhejiang Province (File)

That India-Pakistan relations have nose-dived is common perception on either side of the Radcliffe Line.  Comments in the Pakistani media have acquired a more obnoxious tone in recent months, especially after the attack on the Pathankot airbase by Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants. An anti-India hysteria is being created in Pakistan with the Army, which is the permanent establishment of the country, going into overdrive.

There are two anti-India themes that have gripped Pakistan. One, the arrest of a retired Indian Navy officer provides the longed ‘proof’ of India’s involvement in all kinds of violence and subversive activities in the land of the pure. Two, the Indians are hell bent on destroying the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC) that the Pakistanis see as the magic wand for their economic woes. Gwadar port is seen as a special target of the Indians.

Yet, some sections appear to believe that the ‘warmth’ in bilateral relations has not melted and the process of Indo-Pak dialogue has not been halted. It would have been easier to accept this view but for New Delhi’s precondition that ‘terror and talks’ can’t go together, and Pakistan’s refusal to accept any ‘pre-condition’ for talking to India.  Many Pakistanis, ministers included, have alleged that Pathankot was stage managed by India to defame Pakistan. How ‘warm’ can you feel about such people?

Pakistan craftily managed to get a team of their sleuths and military men visit the Pathankot airbase but has refused a reciprocal visit by an Indian team. Indian government appears to take a lenient view of this. “Pakistan has merely sought more time to respond to India’s request while it ‘examines and analyses’ the evidence that its team had collected during the visit to Pathankot,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj  told the media in New Delhi on Sunday, June 19, 2016.

Reports in the Pakistani media however give a different perspective. Most of these reports are probably planted by ISI and its cohorts. And echo the same line that the joint investigation team (JIT) from Pakistan that visited Pathankot found no evidence of Pakistani involvement in the attack, as alleged by India. The JIT report has not been made public yet. It may give a direct blow to the prospect of resumption of dialogue and blow the façade of ‘continuous’ dialogue off.  Well, to expect a different outcome when the Rawalpindi –based GHQ Shura Army decides the course of Pak-India ties is not the Pak Army’s fault.

Pakistan’s refusal to allow an Indian team in is as clear a hint as any that it has something to hide. The mastermind of the Pathankot attack, as also of other attacks on India, including the Mumbai attacks, roam freely all over Pakistan, preaching hatred towards India and recruiting jehadis to be smuggled in to India to carry on the ‘holy war’. One of them leads Friday prayers in mosques in Islamabad.  And these worthies have closed ranks to revive the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), which they had floated for the first time in Nov 2011 to target the United States.   The new goal of DFC is India and its quest for NSG membership.

China has made it plainly clear that it will block India’s entry into NSG, till its all-weather client state, Pakistan is welcomed into the nuclear trading group.  Well, the Chinese objections are clothed in some ‘procedural’ matters but such objections are neither here nor there since the end purpose is no different from that of Pakistan.

The short point is that China has endorsed the Pakistani objections which are the result of its paranoia about India and the ingrained hostility. Indians can only laugh when Pakistan says that it has better credentials for joining NSG than India but China believes it. Pakistani ‘credential’ claims include a flourishing nuclear Walmart that A.Q. Khan ran for years with active help from his civilian government as well as the army. Much of the nuclear arsenal that Pakistan has built—larger than India’s—over the years is the result of help from China. China and Pakistan run a joint venture that aims to destabilise India. China will not stop supporting Pakistan in order to block India’s membership of NSG.

Chinese mandarins will do well to read the Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons.  Released on June 14, the report serves as an eye opener.

Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is widely regarded as designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan, but Islamabad’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal, development of new types of nuclear weapons, and adoption of a doctrine called “full spectrum deterrence” have led some observers to express concern about an increased risk of nuclear conflict in South Asia, says the CRS report.

Instability in Pakistan has called into question the extent and durability of its much publicized initiatives to improve its nuclear security. “Some observers fear radical takeover of the Pakistani government or diversion of material or technology by personnel within Pakistan’s nuclear complex”, the report cautions puncturing Pakistan’s NSG membership credentials.

China is the original sinner in injecting nuclear arms in the region when in October 1964 it detonated an atomic device not after it had ran over Indian territories in a short war. China has cultivated Pakistan in its bid to stop India’s rise.

No surprise, therefore, the latest commentary in Global Times on India and the NSG has spared no punches. This paper, like all other publications in China, reflects the official stands. It said that India becoming a member of NSG will ‘paralyse’ the region, ‘jeopardize’ China’s national interests and lead to a nuclear arms race in South Asia.

If this is the official position, it makes no sense to believe that China will override Pakistani objections on NSG or on any other India-Pakistan matter.

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