China is leading opposition to a push by the United States and other major powers for India to join the main club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, diplomats said on Thursday as the group discussed India's membership bid. (Source: Times of India)

What are the reasons (both official and unstated-real) for China's opposition to India's membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?

3 Answers 3


Relations between contemporary China and India have been characterised by border disputes, resulting in three military conflicts — the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the Chola incident in 1967, and the 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish ( here). Although since the late 1980s, both countries have successfully reignited diplomatic and economic ties, there are several hurdles for India and the PRC to overcome:

  • India faces trade imbalance heavily in favour of China.

  • The two countries failed to resolve their border dispute.

  • India remains wary about China's strong strategic bilateral relations with Pakistan.

  • China has expressed concerns about Indian military and economic activities in the disputed South China Sea, here.

  • China remains wary about India's bilateral relations with the US.

    (India wants to use US power in competition with China. On the other hand US, (that see China as a rival), gains benefits from China-India conflict).

The last point together with a point in the question that says "a push by the United States and other major powers", can be the main reason of China's opposition.

  • While I do not see anything wrong in the points that you state, I fail to see how that explains China position (unless you want to state that China wants to be a nuissance to India in every possible aspect).
    – SJuan76
    Jun 14, 2016 at 22:18
  • Yes, they are rivals in different blocks of power. e.g. consider China-Russia and US-India. Or consider China-Pakistan relations; in this relation hostility of Pakistan-India has an important role. Now US want bold India against china (as US does in Taiwan case). and China want India to be weaken (as China does in Taiwan case).
    – user 1
    Jun 15, 2016 at 6:43

China is not opposed to Indian entry per se. China is simply adhering to rules sketched out by NSG to become a member. India follows some of them conventionally but stays clear from legally binding provisions.

According to The Diplomat:

Where the United States and other supporting members have called for India’s inclusion based on New Delhi’s non-proliferation track record and the U.S.-India civil nuclear accord, China has made the NPT signature (or lack thereof) its central argument to scuttle India’s entry. Beijing has claimed that a “compulsory” requirement for NSG membership is that “the NSG members must be signatories to the NPT.”

Chinese state run Global Times noted:

Since its foundation in 1975, all NSG members shall be NPT signatories. This has become the primary principle of the organization. Now India wants to be the first exception to join the NSG without signing the NPT. It is morally legitimate for China and other members to upset India's proposal in defense of principles...

...US backing adds the biggest impetus to India's ambition. By cozying up to India, Washington's India policy actually serves the purpose of containing China.

..China's action [blocking NSG inclusion of India] is based on international norms, but India's reaction seems to indicate that their national interests can override principles recognized by the world.

(Emphasis mine)

What's more important is that NSG's decision requires consensus from all parties. So it is failure of Indian diplomacy and India supporting bloc in NSG (comprising Stats of mercantile interests including USA, UK, France, Australia) to convince China and other dissenting members as well.

It is interesting to note that when France was granted membership to NSG it was not a signatory to NPT. (Source)

  • Note that the Nonproliferation Treaty says that India can't have nukes and China can. Without modification to that treaty, India won't sign it.
    – prosfilaes
    Sep 29, 2022 at 16:22

China is currently under sanction from the West which means even though China is a member of NSG, China doesn't have access to the Western technologies. Becoming a member of NSG will pave the way for India to receive the Western technology.

Another reason is Pakistan. Pakistan is lobbying among NSG member allies (e.g. China, Turkey, Italy) to give them access to NSG if India gets the access. Apparently, China is a strong advocate in favor of an equal access to NSG.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .