US works for India's membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by pmaitra, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Messages:
    31,640
    Likes Received:
    17,124
    Location:
    EST, USA
    US works for India's membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group

    Indrani Bagchi, TNN | Jun 22, 2011, 01.59am IST; Times of India

    NEW DELHI: The US has proposed that adherence to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) need not be a "pre-requisite" for India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), but a suggestion, or a "factor to be considered". If this finds broader acceptance within the NSG, India's entry could become easier. The 45-nation nuclear club is meeting for its plenary in The Hague this week.

    In a paper circulated among NSG members, the US, which had committed to supporting India's quest for membership to international non-proliferation regimes -- NSG, Australia Group, Wassenaar Arrangement and Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) -- has put a set of proposals to other members for India's accession. India has not signed the NPT and is unlikely to do so, because it considers the treaty to be inherently discriminatory and one that has outlived its usefulness.

    India's non-NPT status stuck in many throats during the negotiations leading up to a waiver by the NSG in September 2008 allowing India to engage in nuclear commerce. As it seeks membership of the NSG, a body which was created in response to India's 1974 nuclear test, this clamour is likely to become louder.

    Meanwhile, there remains the tantalising threat that the NSG might adopt new guidelines for export of enrichment and reprocessing technology (ENR) that could restrict it to non-NPT states. While this was spurred by the US, if it is adopted by NSG, there are fears that India might be adversely affected.

    On Sunday, Indian officials said they had flagged India's concerns on ENR restrictions to NSG countries. "We have expressed India's deep reservations with the move to withhold transfer of ENR technology (to India) which would dilute the whole message of exemption given to India in September 2008," they said.

    However, talking to journalists on Tuesday, visiting US assistant secretary of state Robert Blake said the Obama administration remained fully committed to the nuclear deal. The discussions underway (on ENR exports), he said, would not undermine the US commitment. There is still no consensus on the ENR issue in NSG though, and sources said this was unlikely to happen soon.

    As far as India is concerned, the NSG waiver and the commitments India undertook should be a precedent for India's membership. But nobody is under any illusion that this will take time. A recent meeting between India and the NSG Troika -- New Zealand, Hungary and Netherlands -- also focused on these issues.

    The Troika said India's membership would be discussed among members this year but no decision was expected. Sources said decisions like these were political in nature, and would be contexted by larger considerations. Therefore, the forthcoming visit to India by the New Zealand PM should see a more determined lobbying by South Block on NSG. New Zealand was one of the big holdouts in 2008, but is on the verge of signing a landmark free-trade agreement with India.

    But the American creation of a "space" for India might make things easier, said sources. This was discussed between Ellen Tauscher, US undersecretary for arms control and non-proliferation, and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao recently in Vienna.

    However, India, they said, was continuing to work on other countries to build its case for membership to the NSG. "Our outreach programme is going on. We don't believe the next NSG meeting will decide on India's membership but would like time lines so that a positive decision is there for the four processes," a source said. India wants a "package deal" for membership to all four international non-proliferation bodies.

    However, the spectre of Fukushima might spoil the party. For many countries giving up on nuclear energy after the Japanese disaster, supporting India's membership might go against the grain. This will be specially true for smaller countries in the NSG, while larger countries can make their decisions for strategic reasons.

    Secondly, sources worry whether the US can actually push through India's case in the way that former US President George Bush could do a few years earlier. On the other hand, China is yet to show its hand on India's case, and there is no reason to believe that it will look upon it kindly. But after being bitten during the waiver debate in 2008, China is likely to take a more circumspect approach.

    Source: US works for India's membership in Nuclear Suppliers Group - The Times of India
     
  2.  

Share This Page