India and NSG Membership: Analysis for IAS Preparation

Current Affairs both at the national and the international platform are highly important when we talk of the preparation for the IAS Exam. A thorough analysis with a deep critically balanced insight into the Current Affairs can and really do make your preparation for the IAS Exam go great guns!

Here is a brilliant example covering India seeking NSG membership!

India has been making all the diplomatic efforts to gain the membership for NSG, but is yet required to wait for a little more of the time!

IAS Preparation: What is NSG? And How is it Significant?

NSG i.e., the Nuclear Suppliers Group comprises the countries that are nuclear suppliers, but seek to contribute towards the non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons. According to the guidelines provided by NSG, a supplier is to make it sure first that the nuclear technologies, if transferred to other nations would not be contributing to the proliferation of the nuclear weapons.

The treaty, signed by 48 nuclear suppliers (read countries) ensured nuclear trade for the peaceful purposes, apart from non-proliferation on the response of India after the nuclear test took place at Pokhran in 1974.

What does The Treaty Aim At?

  1. It lays the norms for the nuclear resources and the technology for the import/export.
  2. It bans the sale of a few materials used for making the weapons. Thus, it helps prevent the proliferation of:
  3. Nuclear Material
  4. Technology
  5. Weapons

It is the NPT i.e., the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty that guides the NSG.

The NSG guidelines govern:

  • Export or the transfer of nuclear material
  • Nuclear reactor and the equipments
  • Non-nuclear resources for the reactors
  • Plant and the equipment for the purpose of reprocessing
  • Enrichment and the conversion of the nuclear material
  • Fuel fabrication and also heavy water production

Apart from the technology for what has been listed above.

Besides, there are quite a few items and technologies that are co-related to both nuclear as well as non-nuclear applications are also governed and regulated by NSG.

Efforts Made by India to Seek the Membership of NSG

India has been seeking the membership of NSG since the year 2008 and has made considerable efforts to achieve the same. The NSG waiver in the very same year i.e., 2008 helped the nation taste success.

The waiver led to India signing quite a few nuclear agreement pacts with a number of the countries including the US. Apart from that, many countries from across the world have stood by India to help our nation gain the unconditional membership of NSG. The prominent powers of the world across the globe including the US, the UK, and Russia etc., have provided their support to India for the same.

However, look at the flip-side of the picture now. There have been many a countries who are opposed to India as far as our nation’s getting into the NSG is concerned. The major opposition comes from China. Besides, a few more of the countries including Pakistan, Switzerland, and Turkey etc., are also opposed to India gaining the membership of NSG.

What is the eligibility criterion for the NSG Membership?

A country is required to be a signatory of NPT in order to gain the membership of NSG. It is the most crucial eligibility criterion. It is one of the principles of NSG that any country that is not a signatory of the NPT or CTBT etc., is not provided the membership for the NSG.

Needless to say, adhering to the procedure for gaining admission into NSG poses the biggest hurdle to India. And time and again, China has been highlighting the same opposing India’s entry into NSG.

But, the point to be noted is that India has been able to acquire the nuclear technologies by means of the many Civil Nuclear Agreements for the country has been getting the waiver for the same for a considerably long time in the past. Thus, the country can be considered for a partial membership of the NSG.

However, the NSG guidelines were changed in the year 2011 by a plenary. According to the new guidelines concerning the transfer of the sensitive enrichment and the reprocessing technologies, India could not conduct any nuclear trade. It has further triggered the need to acquire the membership of NSG and also get the rule amended.

India’s Stand on Signing NPT

India considers signing NPT as biased and discriminatory. Moreover, the nation has been adhering voluntarily to various norms as well as the principles of the NPT. The points given below are worth considering:

  • A voluntary moratorium has been declared by India for the underground nuclear tests further   
  • India effectively acts in sense and spirit of NPT
  • The No First Use Policy makes India a highly responsible nuclear power.
  • India is determined not to use the nuclear weapons unless and until the nation is threatened by an attack causing mass destruction

More of Supporting Points in the favour of  India

  • The full scale IAEA safeguards have already been accepted by India.
  • India has already gained recognition for expertise in the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes including agriculture, health care, power, industry, research, nuclear reactors etc.
  • If India gains the membership of NSG successfully, it will also encourage (apart from helping India) a peaceful Civil Nuclear Trade without compromising peaceful harmony across the world.
  • India holds the MTCR membership and has been adhering to the NSG guidelines.

How India is likely to gain from the NSG membership?

In spite of being a nuclear capable state, India is not yet well-equipped with the required technologies and the nuclear fuels. If India gets the membership of NSG, the following areas would receive a highly positive impact:

  1. India would have more of the say at the International platform concerning the trade of the nuclear items. It will not only boost the import, but also enhance the technological import(s). It would also help India go a long way towards the clean energy security for India. Once India gains the NSG membership, the country would have an access to the advanced foreign technologies to help the nation run the nuclear programs in an advanced manner.
  2. After gaining the NSG membership, India would gain the authority and the mandate to sell the nuclear (and the related) products as well as the technologies to other countries.

India’s Strategic Interests

In spite of not having signed NPT, India has been making sincere efforts to acquire the membership of NSG. The membership, if acquired, would result into a progressive surge in domestic industries, accumulation of power to safeguard the nation’s interests concerning the adversaries including the neighbours, energy security etc.

Besides, there are quite a few other strategic interests as well, apart from what have been stated above. These are as described below:

  • India aspires to more important a status at the international platform when it comes to laying the norms for the nuclear commerce.  
  • Apart from India, the nation’s strategic partners including the US wish it well equipped with the crucial technologies including the areas covering the nuclear power, missiles, space, and defense etc., so that India emerges even stronger at the international platform. The nation has already come to be known for its expertise in various space technologies. India has already gained an entry into the MTCR. Thus, the missile technology has also been enhanced. And with gaining the NSG membership, India would be a great expert in the field of the nuclear technology.
  • India needs to rely more on the unconventional resources including nuclear energy. Membership to NSG would ameliorate the country’s strategic energy in the future.
  • NSG membership would empower India to voice concern against the nuclear proliferating countries including Pakistan.

IAS Preparation: India’s Inclusion into NSG vs. the Country’s Energy Security

India relies heavily on various countries for various reasons:

  • Requirement of fossil fuels,
  • Its own rapidly disappearing non-renewable sources of energy,
  • Not so competent technologies to make the most of the solar and the wind energy technologies.

And it should be noted that nuclear energy has almost been looked upon for being the panacea in the 21st century by India. Thus, the NSG membership may prove to be a game changer for India to an extent than what had been anticipated earlier.

IAS Preparation: To sum up, the major hurdle blocking India’s way to  gain the memebership of NSG is, as already said earlier that India has yet not signed NPT. And again, as we have seen that most of the countries across the world support India’s justifiable claim to the membership of NSG, countries like China and Pakistan have been opposing the same. Besides, Turkey sides with Pakistan. The former has been a great friend of the latter ever since Pakistan came into existence.

However, India has always been recognized as a great champion of peace across the world and would continue with all the justifiably sincere efforts to gain the membership of NSG.

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