External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has said that India looks forward to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by overcoming political impediments.
About the Nuclear Suppliers Group –
- NSG is a voluntary, non-legally binding association of major countries that trade in nuclear material.
- It aims to prevent nuclear exports for commercial and peaceful purposes from being used to make nuclear weapons.
- It currently has 48 members, who work on accepted guidelines to prevent proliferation while indulging in nuclear commerce.
- It is not a formal organisation, and its guidelines are not binding. Decisions, including on membership, are made by consensus.
- Signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) felt a need to apply further safeguards on exports of nuclear material and specialised nuclear equipment to non-nuclear weapon states.
- NPT is an international treaty, which came into force in 1970.
- The main objective of NPT is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology.
- India, Pakistan and Israel have not signed NPT.
- Multilateral consultations on nuclear export controls continued under separate mechanisms.
- India’s 1974 Pokhran nuclear test was a trigger, as it arguably demonstrated that certain non-weapons specific technology could be turned to weapons development.
- As a result, the NSG was created in 1974.
Who can participate?
- Any state that conducts exports appearing on the Guidelines may apply for NSG membership.
- There are two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.
- The guidelines include a principle that states that transfer of nuclear technology will be authorised only on the condition that such a deal will not lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
- Hence, all the member states of the NSG are signatories of the NPT.
- A potential member is evaluated on its proliferation record for national export controls and adherence to international non-proliferation treaties and agreements.
- All existing members must approve an applicant for admittance to the regime.
Why India is not a member of NSG?
- Non-signatory of NPT —
- India has not signed the NPT. All the participants of NSG are the signatory of NPT.
- India refused to sign NPT because the NPT defines nuclear weapons states as those that tested devices before 1967.
- As per the definition, India cannot ever be designated as a nuclear weapon states.
- Also, India believes NPT is unfair treaty as nuclear weapon states have no obligation to give them up while putting a ban on non-nuclear states.
- Opposition from China —
- While a majority of the 48-member group backed India’s membership, China along with few other countries have opposed India’s admission.
- Other countries that are opposing India’s inclusion in the NSG are Turkey, South Africa, Ireland and New Zealand.
- Experts believe that China’s resistance is to facilitate the entry of Pakistan, a close ally of China, in NSG.
- China has even argued that if India can be let in without signing NPT, then Pakistan should be granted the membership as well. However, track record of Pakistan is not good. US, in 2018, sanctioned 7 Pakistani nuclear firms for nuclear proliferation.
- Since, NSG works on the basis of consensus, China’s opposition is making it difficult for India to gain entry.