By Spandan Pattanaik
“With the next plenary session of Nuclear supplier group (NSG) likely to be held in Bern,Switzerland,in June,India’s chances of entering the group look somewhat bleak ,due to relentless opposition from China. China is blocking India’s membership by formulating a criteria – a standard for admission – for inclusion of countries that are non signatories of Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and also it also equates India’s case with Pakistan ,which too has applied for NSG membership. But it must be noted that membership of NPT is not a condition for becoming a member of NSG. It is only a guiding principle to which consideration needs to be given.The intent and purpose of NSG, however, are different from that of NPT and NSG is not an international treaty. Moreover India’s Nuclear technologies are indigenously developed with high level expertise in safe utilisation of nuclear technologies and has also declared a voluntary Moratorium on future underground nuclear test. By doing so India has effectively acted in sense and spirit of NPT and her nuclear doctrine is non offensive, non proliferative and only for deterrence unlike many western powers.
In addition to this it has a clean non proliferation record unlike Pakistan whose non proliferation record was tainted with the revelations that its nuclear scientist A.Q Khan sold nuclear technologies to countries such as North Korea. China’s non proliferation record too is tainted with allegations that it has helped Pakistan on the sly, but given its economic clout the country is unlikely to attract sanctions.
Singing of nuclear agreements with USA, Russia,France,Canada,Australia despite being a non-signatory to the Non Proliferation Treaty(NPT) and the recent inclusion of India into the Missile Technology Control Regime are testimony to this.
Although India also got an exemption from NSG for nuclear imports in 2008 following civil nuclear deal with US despite not being signatory to NPT,there are still many types of technologies India can be denied as it is outside the NSG. Joining the NSG will give India better access to low-cost, clean nuclear energy.
Commercialisation the production of nuclear power equipment and can be leveraged for economic and strategic benefits. Membership also gives legal grounding and provides greater certainty to Indians nuclear regime, evoking greater confidence of the countries that invest billions of dollars to set up ambitious projects in India and it would put India on a firmer footing to propose the idea of plutonium trade for its thorium programme .
Thus India’s membership of the NSG shall not only benefit it but also encourage civil nuclear trade globally without compromising on world peace and harmony.