New NSG rules restrain N-tech transfer to India - The Times of India NEW DELHI: The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has published new guidelines tightening rules for transfer of enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology to countries that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). While the decision to put out new guidelines was taken at the NSG plenary meeting in Noordwijk, Netherlands, on June 23-24, the new guidelines were only published on Thursday. As expected, the new rules restrict the transfer of ENR equipment and technology to countries that have signed the NPT and have implemented a comprehensive safeguards agreement. India has not signed the NPT and has no intention of signing it as a non-nuclear weapons state. As a result of the Indo-US nuclear deal of 2008, the government signed an India-specific safeguards agreement with the IAEA which allowed India to implement a "separation plan", putting all its civilian nuclear reactors under safeguards, while keeping the strategic nuclear weapons programme outside its ambit. The new guidelines expect the recipient state to sign the "model" Additional Protocol -- India has signed an Additional Protocol but its India-specific as well. On the face of it, India will, as a result of these guidelines, find it very difficult to access ENR technologies. The government will be forced to answer uncomfortable questions on the quality of the nuclear waiver when Parliament meets next week. However, when India got the waiver in September 2008, the NSG exemption said, "Participating governments may transfer trigger list items and/or related technology to India... provided that transfers of sensitive exports remain subject to paragraphs 6 and 7 of the guidelines." At the time, paragraph 6 said, "Suppliers should exercise restraint in the transfer of sensitive facilities, technology and material usable for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices." Paragraph 7 said, "For a transfer of an enrichment facility, or technology therefore (sic), the recipient nation should agree that neither the transferred facility, nor any facility based on such technology, will be designed or operated for the production of greater than 20% enriched uranium without the consent of the supplier nation, of which the IAEA should be advised." India could make the case that it would only confine itself to the 2008 waiver but whether that would be the understanding among supplier countries is very debatable. The US, France and Russia have all issued statements after the new ENR decisions that they would abide by their "full civilian nuclear cooperation" with India. Nuclear analyst Mark Hibbs of US-based Carnegie Endowment said, "The NSG's 2008 exemption decision for India spelled out that India's access to nuclear commerce from NSG participating governments would be subject to the terms of paragraphs 6 and 7 covering ENR. And India was informed at that time that the NSG intended to revise those paragraphs to further restrict access." He said neither of the three main nuclear suppliers ever intended to supply ENR to India.