China not against India’s NSG membership: envoy

China on Friday sought to dispel the view that it was against India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“The notion that China is against India’s entry into NSG is not right. India and China are working together in this regard,” Consul General of China in Kolkata, Zhanwu Ma said. “Entry of any country into the Nuclear Suppliers Group needs certain procedures which are to be followed. It is not that simple,” Ma told reporters here. Asked about China’s stand on Indo-Pak relations, he said his country was neutral.

“China is very friendly towards India. Some people do not seem to believe so. Of course, we have differences. But the shared interests outweigh the differences,” the Chinese Consul General said, adding the business relations between the two countries were mutually beneficial. “So far India’s relation with Pakistan is concerned, China’s position is neutral. India and Pakistan should settle the impasse via negotiations only,” he added.

The envoy’s statement came as India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Friday met his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Hyderabad to discuss measures to improve bilateral ties strained by differences over a host of issues, including Beijing blocking India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid and a UN ban on JeM chief Masood Azhar.

The meeting at the Taj Falaknuma Palace comes two days after Chinese and Indian troops were locked in a stand-off at the icy heights of Ladakh division after People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel entered an area where an irrigation canal was being built under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) scheme and stopped civilian work.

Both sides decided to hold this meeting days before the incident in Demchok sector, located 250 km east of Leh, where the work for linking a village with “Hot Spring” was being undertaken under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA). There was no official word on the meeting.