Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Indian NSG Membership Dream Shattered

For the time being, India is enjoying a unique and highly favored position, globally. This perhaps has raised their hopes considerably and has given India and false sense of invincibility. Such sense however, changed quickly when India was denied Nuclear Suppliers Groups membership quite recently. Indian membership was denied in spite of full American support. The ties between India and US are growing very fast and it seems that Mr. Modi, the Prime Minister of India is the blue eyed boy of the United States. As a result America is looking to India with everything that it desires as long as India is willing to keep China in check. The idea is to strengthen India to the extent that it can neutralize China’s influence in the region. As part of this is plan, India received all the military and civilian support it required from its new found western allies, and as part of that support, India was eyeing NSG membership. This membership would have granted India access to state of art nuclear technology and training facilities which it can use for both peaceful and military purposes. Among the peaceful uses is building nuclear reactors to generate clean energy, thus replacing coal based power projects that cause pollution. Radioisotopes and radiation have also applications in agriculture, medicine, industry and research. India would also be able to import Uranium from member countries as part of this membership. USA is in full support of Indian membership and has influenced powerful members like France, Britain, Germany and Canada to favor India in this regard. As result 38 nations out of the total pool of 48NSG member nations were in favor of Indian inclusion. Despite such support India failed to get member status in NSG. Among the members opposing Indian inclusion were China, Russia, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland, Brazil, Switzerland, and Turkey. These countries supported a principled stance against India. This objection against Indian inclusion was based mainly on two factors. Firstly, that India had not signed the Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which is a pre-requisite for membership. These members argue that the conditions should remain same for all members and that India should not be given an exception despite US support in this matter. The second reason for opposing India’s membership remains that India has fallen short of fulfilling its commitments in regard to the 2008 deal, where India promised to adhere to the rules binding all NSG members. This included following Missile Technology Control Regime guidelines, adhering to the restrictions of Fissile Material cut-off treaty, follow nonproliferation laws and stay to all other NSG guidelines. India, however, failed to fulfill any of these commitments and continued to blatantly enhance its nuclear stockpile. These reasons are more valid despite Indian tirade that it fulfilled all requirements and deserved NSG membership. China maintains its stance that if India is given an exception then Pakistan should also be treated in the same manner, something which Russia agrees to. One of the most important developments in regard to Indian NSG membership is that Russia has opposed it. This is a strange and possibly worrisome development for India as it has always maintained close military and civilian ties with Russia. On the other hand this is stance is welcomed by Pakistan as it is justified principle. Russian President Vladimir Putin, on June 17, 2016 expressed Russia’s stance in the following words:

“Of course, we (Moscow and Beijing) must discuss issues such as these (India’s NSG membership). We discuss all issues very openly. Our Chinese friends and we have no secrets from each other. We make it our general rule to always discuss things openly, all cards on the table… Of course, we must take everyone’s concerns into account because if we do not do so in a timely fashion, otherwise we would not solve problems but only create new ones. Can we resolve problems in this way? I think that we can, provided we are careful in our actions and work to reach agreement with each other”

These are strong words, hinting towards the fact that China and Russia ties are stronger which has led to Russians tilting towards principled stance. It also reflects Russia’s annoyance with India’s tilt towards US at the cost Indian Russian ties. All in all, the message is loud and clear, “India will not become a member of NSG any time soon.”

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