New Delhi: India has said that it is still hopeful of persuading China to back its bid for membership of the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after Beijing was seen as the main stumbling block at a plenary session of the group last month in South Korea.

Responding to questions in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said that China had created “procedural hurdles” for India in getting membership of the NSG during its meeting in Seoul.

Stating that New Delhi would not sign the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—deemed by many member countries to be a prerequisite for membership of the NSG which controls global nuclear commerce—Swaraj said India was engaging China to iron out differences on the subject.

China was seen as the main hurdle standing in the way of India’s membership of the NSG and it was seen as being done at Pakistan’s behest.

China’s stance that India’s application cannot be considered because it has not signed NPT was backed by nearly 10 other countries including New Zealand, Austria and Switzerland.

India’s failure to gain entry into the 48-member NSG came despite strong backing from the US, the UK, France and a number of others in the group.

The NSG declared its “firm support” for the “full, complete and effective” implementation of NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime—a clear indication that no exception will be made in the case of India.

The NSG, however, said that discussions on the participation of countries that have not signed NPT would continue. India has refused to sign the pact, which it terms discriminatory.

In her remarks in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj said India was “engaging” with China on the subject.

“If someone says ‘no’ once, it does not mean he won’t agree at all… like GST… almost all parties have agreed to it but Congress has not. That does not mean it will never agree (to the GST bill),” Swaraj said.

Swaraj also rejected suggestions by Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party that the denial of NSG membership was a “huge diplomatic snub” for India as it came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Mexico and Switzerland. The visits were seen as mainly aimed at garnering support for India’s NSG bid.

Responding to a question on the benefits of getting NSG membership, Swaraj said India was aiming to become part of the “rule-making” group from its current position of being a “rule-taker.”

“Waiver is like being allowed in the verandah,” she said referring to the 2008 one-time waiver that India had received from the NSG to access technology and atomic power plants from the international market.

“Membership is like being in the room… being part of rule-making,” Swaraj said. She said though India has not signed the NPT, it is following the commitments made when it got the waiver in 2008.

She said membership of the NSG would enable India to have uninterrupted access to nuclear technology, fuel and material required for expanding its civil nuclear programme.

“It would create a predictable environment for large investments required for setting up nuclear power plants in India, inter alia, to meet India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) pledge of 40% of its power capacity coming from non-fossil sources by 2030,” she said.