NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have scored a measure of diplomatic
victory by winning Swiss backing for entry into the 48-nation Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG) but, due to China's continuous opposition, India
will still have to wait a bit longer to break into the elite club that
regulates global nuclear trade.
China has also been insisting
that if any concession is given to India, a non-signatory to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the same should apply to Pakistan that
has allegedly been caught selling atomic weapons technology to Libya.
argument has saddled India's NSG bid with Pakistan's bad track record.
Analysts here say that this has put India's application in a precarious
situation for its entry into the grouping that works on the principle of
consensus and allows a new member only if all existing members agree.
members are admitted largely if they agree to be part of the NPT or
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). India has signed neither on the
ground that they are discriminatory.
India is keen on entering
the NSG group because it controls nuclear commercial activities and
technology transfers in the world. Its membership will also grant India
global acceptance as a nuclear-armed power and equal footing with
India has the capacity to export nuclear fuel like
thorium and supply nuclear technology in the future. That is not
possible for a non-NSG state. Also, the membership will give India an
edge over Pakistan, handing it a strategic clout to block Pakistan's
possible bid to enter the grouping.
India's NSG application is
expected to come up for review at the NSG meeting in Vienna on Thursday
and Friday. It has already got the support of major NSG countries,
including France, Russia, Britain, Japan, Mexico and the US.
Pakistan has also filed its application and since it doesn't have support of major powers, it is unlikely to be taken up.
For India, China remains a "big hurdle", Commodore Uday Bhaskar, president of the Society for Policy Studies, told IANS.
country's vote matters. Both Switzerland and Mexico are very important.
But unless China is persuaded, it will be difficult," said Bhaskar, one
of India's leading security and strategic affairs experts.
Ghose, a former Indian diplomat who headed the Indian delegation for
negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva in 1996, agreed
that it was "difficult" for India to get into the grouping that was
established in 1974 post India's Pokhran nuclear test to prevent the
civilian nuclear trade and technology from being used for military
Ghose, however, sounded optimistic from an Indian point of view on the grounds that "China doesn't like to be isolated".
everybody (at the NSG's Vienna plenary meeting) agrees, it is likely
that China may say yes to India's application," Ghose told IANS.
experts rest their hopes on India's lobbying with America to push
Beijing during the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
is not the first time that India has sought exemption from initialling
NPT before joining NSG. In 2008, after hectic lobbying by India with the
US, the bloc exempted India from signing the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) comprehensive safeguards, thereby allowing New
Delhi to engage in nuclear trade with NSG members.
was given on the basis of certain non-proliferation commitments India
had agreed to under the India-US Civilian Nuclear Agreement.
(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at email@example.com)
India Doesn't Lag In Developing Thorium-Fuelled N-Reactor, A Nuclear Expert Says
India Successfully Tests Winged Reusable Launch Vehicle
'India Should Build Its Own Space Station'