President Mamnoon Hussain Thursday (today) thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for supporting Pakistan’s bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Hussain and Xi met on the sidelines meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent, on a day the Chinese president is also set to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Only granting India the membership of the NSG will shift the balance of power,” Hussain said.
China has maintained its opposition to India’s NSG membership bid on the grounds that it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
China’s stand against India has also focused on its questions over the future of the world’s nuclear order if ‘illegitimate’ nuclear states like India or Pakistan are allowed to join the global nuclear trading regime.
Even as it has said all this, Beijing has repeatedly stated its official line that China does not oppose India’s bid for membership to the NSG.
Earlier, Mamnoon Hussain was accorded warm welcome on his arrival in the Uzbek capital on Wednesday to attend the 16th heads of state meeting of SCO. Uzbekistan Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyav received the president as he arrived at the Tashkent One Airport.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry accompanied the president.
A contingent of armed forces presented a salute to the president. Young girls attired in traditional Uzbek costumes presented bouquets to the president.
President Mamnoon and the Uzbek prime minister also held a meeting before leaving the airport lounge and exchanged views on bilateral matters. The two sides also discussed the significance of the SCO summit which will grant full membership to Pakistan.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamalov, Uzbek Ambassador to Pakistan Furqat Sidiqov and Pakistan Ambassador Riaz H Bukhari were present.
The president earlier made a stopover in Samarkand where he visited the mausoleums of Imam Bukhari and Amir Temur.
During his stay in Tashkent, the president besides attending the SCO summit will hold sideline meetings with Uzbek President Islam Karimov and Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon.
In accordance with the summit agenda, the heads of state will discuss the issues of further deepening multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation within the frameworks of the SCO, as well as exchange views on regional and international issues.
Pakistan became the observer state of SCO in 2005 and was the first country to apply for full membership in 2010.