In the early 70’s Indian tests created unrest in the Asian region. These experiments by Indians forced the international community to make a regulatory body to keep a check on nuclear business in the name of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).
Since the beginning of this year, this NSG debate is getting INTO more despicable situation creating a dominant delusion of entering India into NSG with a plenary meeting on November 11. This NSG-India bonhomie has caught momentum since 2010, what is most valuable about this agreement of getting India into NSG is, how it unlocks a new and far broader world of potential for India which is already leading the nuclear business in the Asian region.
Since it is an item/facility specific favor where India is still lacking the NPT membership and is denied of accepting IAEA safeguards as under the Indo-US deal, it did not help the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Interestingly, as far as the nuclear trade with NSG is concerned, the 123 agreement does not allow the restriction of nuclear trade with a third party and here is all where the primary concern arises. In all of the 123 agreement terms like “stable,” “reliability of supply,” “uninterrupted supply,” “continuing assurance” and “Indian complete access to international market” were used to assure India to carry a nuclear trade with other advanced nuclear states entirely.
As per Article 5 (6) of the 123 Agreement, some necessary conditions were included following the commitments made in it;
(a) US will incorporate assurances regarding fuel supplies in the present agreement, which would be submitted to the US Congress.
(b) Adjustment of the practices of NSG. India and the US will negotiate with the IAEA for an India specific fuel supply agreement.
(c) US will support Indian effort for the development of a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel.
(d) Request friendly countries; Russia, France and UK, to restore fuel supplies to India.
(e) Provision of “corrective measures” that India may take in the event of disruption of foreign fuel supplies.
India-Pakistan being an arch rival in South Asian region has various security and economic interests and warlike concerns from each other, where this India-in-the NSG is creating more fuss.
While keeping in mind different challenges with this India getting into NSG, one must ponder that why NSG was initially created and the stakes for which this group was developed? Why NSG exists? No doubt it was the Indian tests that sets the basis that nuclear technology for peaceful purposes can be misused for any misadventures. Still, India is in the delusion of getting this membership as a step towards joining big boys club. What a double whammy!
India and America are working more together to counter the workforce of China in the region or one can say to counterforce the Chinese presence. But, the side of the picture is the economic interests, where US sees commercial opportunities in India by letting them into NSG.
Believing all in the world out there, China’s open hostility at NSG membership is of the view that India wanted hegemonic interests to override principles. But Pakistan sees all this from a security state prism where India gaining NSG membership will eventually lead to a nuclear arms race remembering their past acts. Pakistan has latched on to reason that this will further destabilize the region and it is not by the norm and mandate of why NSG was created. So, this Indo-American strategic convergence will allow India to create more disturbance and make India as a hegemony over China and Pakistan in the Asian region.
Ideally, NSG bid of India is a matter of NSG with itself to balance the equation. If India is getting her gatecrash in NSG, then simple mathematics must be to have all the non-NPT nuclear powers without exception.
The fructification of NSG bid is also getting highly politicized as it ponders us to one important aspect that India is not yet a member of NPT and would give India an opportunity to be involved in the wider decision-making process concerning supply of nuclear materials and technology. It is also of great importance as Obama’s democracy is going to end in seven months, both partners are keen to secure their farcical support for enduring great power partnership.
Today, NSG must reaffirm its commitment by abstaining India from entering into such cartel without following the procedures. This is a pillar, which is not being made by Pakistan or China and must stand still to its mandate to avert the sharing of technology that could add further proliferation of nuclear weapons and will collapse nuclear order.