Does India really need to push for NSG membership?

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It’s been a while since we are hearing about our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi making frequent foreign visits to lure other countries to vote in favor of India getting NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group)membership. Prime Minister visited Switzerland just before the NSG meeting in which they ensured that they will support India, but during NSG meet they supported China’s view of signing NPT(Non-Proliferation Treaty) first and then coming to NSG group. So, the yesterday’s NSG meeting in Seoul produced no favorable results for India and denied our entry into the group on the grounds that we have not signed the NPT. China made this point and it was backed by Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey making us feel embarrass in front of all world leaders.

So we really need to look into the point about that do we really need to be in that group? Let’s first see what is NSG and NPT?

NSG : Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the exports of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. Originally this group was formed in 1974 in response to Indian nuclear tests in Pokhran in May, 1974. The group has 48 members at present.

NPT : Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament. The treaty was started in 1970 and about 191 countries have signed it. The four UN members who have not signed the treaty are- India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan and one non UN member i.e North Korea has also not signed it.

Why is India Pushing for membership?

  • Clean Energy Initiatives: India has massive energy needs and is planning to meet its energy requirements preferably by non-fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is a great option as it produces lot of energy in single reaction and if fusion reaction becomes feasible then there would be abundant amount of energy.
  • Make in India: within Make in India program lot of companies are entering India to setup their production houses. France and Russia have signed a MoU with Indian Government to build nuclear reactors within country and if we get into NSG then we can easily supply those to other countries in need.
  • Global Partnerships: We would be able to trade and transfer crucial nuclear technologies to any country of the world without restriction and any foreign interfere.

Now let us look at some points like, first NSG was formed to stop and ban the transfer of nuclear technology to India so why do we need to get into that group and also it has 48 members some even don’t have nuclear technology like New Zealand, Ireland, So how can we think them as Elite Group who control nuclear technology? Second China made a point that we have not signed NPT, before speaking this it should check for entry of France in the group. France initially when became member has not signed NPT, although they later signed it but that is different as initially they didn’t signed.

Let us have a look at recent nuclear developments in India. We have received a waiver in 2008 that allowed us to have nuclear trade with nuclear advanced countries and also we have signed agreements and MoU’s with Russia, France and United States for reactor projects. India has uranium buying agreement with more than 11 countries, including Kazakhstan and Canada. Australia the largest exporter has also signed a deal in Nov, 2015 during G20 summit with India to supply Uranium for civilian purposes, after this deal India became the only country to buy Australian uranium without being a signatory of NPT. You can check for Various Indian deals here.

Recently in an interview former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Mr. M R Srinivasan said that “centre is making unnecessary hype about admission into NSG as it won’t make much difference on ground as New Delhi has its own capability to design and build reactors and fuel manufacturing, reprocessing and so on”. He Padma Bhushan awardee further said “Had the matter been initially brought to AEC and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), we would have recommended to not raise the issue”. Srinivasan, who played a crucial role in the development of India’s nuclear programme and Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), said that no evaluation was made about the perceived benefits of NSG membership.

Also not to forget that we developed Cryogenic engine because other countries put a ban on us for no technology transfer and how about India being denied membership in MTCR(Missile Technology Control Regime) that lead DRDL and DRDO to develop some of the world’s best missile and placed India on par with other countries. Hence, we can be more optimistic in this regard. In the end I would say that it hardly matters if we are in or out of NSG as our country is already doing well in Nuclear Technology and it has the required number of agreements with other countries to fulfill our demands.

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