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NEW DELHI: A US-backed move to make India a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will be good neither for Pakistan nor for China, and it would set off nuclear instability in South Asia, The Global Times has been quoted by the Indian media as saying on Tuesday.

“India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers in the region, keep alert to each other’s nuclear capabilities. India’s application for NSG membership and its potential consequences will inevitably touch a raw nerve in Pakistan, its traditional rival in the region,” the newspaper, which usually reflects official opinion, said.

“As Pakistan is not willing to see an enlarging gap in nuclear power with India, a nuclear race is a likely outcome. This will not only paralyse regional security, but also jeopardise China’s national interests.”

The paper’s op-ed commentary, titled “India mustn’t let nuclear ambitions blind itself”, feared that New Delhi’s NSG membership would set off a nuclear confrontation in the region.

“Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a diplomatic journey, travelling halfway across the world with his top goal to garner support for his country’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)” ahead of the plenary meeting of the group expected to be held in Seoul on June 24.

“The US and some NSG members have given a push to India’s membership bid, but the reported opposition from most countries, especially China, seems to have irritated India.”

While a majority of the 48-member group backed India’s membership, China, along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria, were opposed to India’s admission.

“Beijing insists that a prerequisite of New Delhi’s entry is that it must be a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while India is not. Despite acknowledging this legal and systematic requirement, the Indian media called China’s stance “obstructionist“,” the commentary said.

It noted that beyond cooperation in the nuclear sector, the US views India as a “balancing actor in its pivot to the Asia-Pacific strategy”. Its supply of nuclear technologies to enhance India’s deterrence capability is to put China in check.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2016