China joined several European countries in voicing skepticism this week about a push by the world's other four recognized nuclear powers to accept India into the 46-country Nuclear Suppliers Group, envoys told Reuters.
As India developed nuclear weapons outside the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it was prevented for many years from buying sensitive technology on the open market. New Delhi received special permission in 2008 to conduct atomic commerce with NSG member states.
Neighboring Pakistan, which also developed a nuclear arsenal outside the NPT regime, lacks the same atomic trade privileges.
China reportedly emphasized the importance of maintaining equitable policies toward all countries in the region during a meeting of NSG states in Vienna, Austria. International relations officials said Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland were among European nations to have taken issue with the push for India's admission, and one diplomatic insider said Japan also seemed ambivalent.
Nuclear Suppliers Group policies require support from all member nations. A separate diplomat voiced uncertainty over how the debate "can be moved forward." The organization would have an opportunity to take up India's potential entry when they hold an annual gathering slated to take place in Prague this June.