Never mentioned China, only disappointment at not getting India into NSG: Shannon

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Kolkata, July 1 (IANS) A day after China reacted strongly over his remarks that Beijing had blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), senior US diplomat Thomas Shannon on Friday reiterated that India was worthy of membership of the elite body and said he had only expressed his disappointment in not getting it into the group.

Pointing out that he had never mentioned China in his comments on the NSG, the US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs denied that his words were “aggressive”.

“The Chinese have reacted strongly to comments that I made in Delhi. It is worth noting that in Delhi, I never mentioned China with regardsto the NSG. I just referred to the nature of the NSG meeting that took place in Seoul and the fact that the Nuclear Suppliers Group historically has been an organisation that runs on consensus.

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“I expressed our disappointment in not getting India into the NSG at this point in time. We thought it was a good moment to do so, we thought India was worthy of that membership and would actually enhance the NSG,” Shannon said at a media round-table here.

“The fact that we were unable to do so means there was opposition and as I noted in Delhi one of my purposes was to sit down with my Indian counterparts and discuss our diplomatic strategy and how it played down in Seoul and what more we need to do so that when we have the opportunity to once again support India’s accession to NSG, that will be successful,” he said.

China on Thursday slammed the US over Shannon’s Aremarks, saying it had “no regard” for facts, and accused Washington of trying to drive a wedge between Beijing and its neighbours.

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Shannon had said in New Delhi: “We understand that in a consensus-based organisation, one country can break consensus. But in order to do so, it must be (held) accountable, not isolated.”

Responding to a media query on Friday, Shannon said: “I don’t think my words were aggressive, I was underscoring as far as NSG was concerned. My principle purpose was to underscore our support for India joining the NSG and lamenting the fact that it could not happen.”



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