Nuclear suppliers group and India

nuclear suppliers group

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.

Why the nuclear suppliers group formed?

NSG was formed with the objective of averting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and preventing acts of nuclear terrorism.

The NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. As a result, NSG’s members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology.

Members of the NSG

Currently, it has 48 members and works by consensus.  which include the five nuclear weapon states US, UK, France, China, and Russia. It is not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding. Although, decisions, including on membership, are made by consensus.

Once admitted, an NSG member state:

  • Gets timely information on nuclear matters.
  • Contributes by way of information.
  • Has confirmed credentials.
  • Can act as an instrument of harmonization and coordination and
  • Also, access to advanced technology.

Why India is still not a member of NSG?

China remains the last major obstacle in the way of India’s membership bid in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.  However, opposition from come countries like China as India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. While a majority of the 48-member group backed India’s membership, China along with New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria were opposed to India’s admission. The nuclear suppliers group works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.

Why did India refuse to sign NPT?

India refused to sign NPT because:

(1) The NPT defines “nuclear weapons states” as those that tested devices before 1967, which means India cannot ever be one.

(2) No fixed timelines have been mentioned for disarmament.

(3) NPT is an unfair treaty as nuclear weapon states have no obligation to give them up while non-nuclear states are not allowed to have them.

Circumstances in favor of India

  • France got membership in the elite group without signing the NPT.
  • Commitment to nonproliferation: India’s commitment to bifurcate its civilian and military nuclear programs along with its non-proliferation record ensured indigenously developed technology is not shared with other countries.
  • Transparency: India has also ratified an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means that its civilian reactors are under IAEA safeguards and open for inspections.

Importance of NSG membership for India

nuclear suppliers group

  • Membership to the NSG will essentially increase India’s access to state-of-the-art technology from the other members of the Group.
  • Access to technology and being allowed to produce nuclear equipment will give a boost to the Make in India program. That will, in turn, boost the economic growth of our country.
  • Enables it to scale up nuclear power production as part of a clean energy push.
  • Gives the ability to offer its own nuclear power plants to the world.
  • As per India’s INDC under the Paris Climate agreement, we have committed to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring that 40% of its energy is sourced from renewable and clean sources. In other words, in order to achieve this target, we need to scale up nuclear power production.
  • Nuclear suppliers group membership gives Make in India programme a boost.

India became a Member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 7 June 2016. As a result, all 34 members of MTCR are members of the NSG. Hence, India is assured of the support of these 34 members in its quest for nuclear suppliers group membership.

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