NSG and India

What is NSG?

  • 48 nation grouping that controls nuclear related exports.
  • Setup in 1974 to counter India’s nuclear tests.


What are the benefits of being an NSG member?

  • NSG members can trade in and export nuclear technology.
  • Members gets timely information on nuclear matters.
  • Members contributes by way of information.


What are the conditions of NSG membership?

  • The ability to supply items on NSG control lists
  • Acting in accordance with NSG guidelines
  • A legally based export control system  
  • Support international non-proliferation efforts
  • Membership of treaties like the NPT that require full-scope safeguards.


Where does India stand against these conditions?

  • India fulfils the above mentioned criterions but does not meet the last one.
  • However, it should be noted that these are not mandatory criteria but only factors for consideration.
  • India has  maintained an impeccable non-proliferation record coupled with a strong commitment to controlling exports of nuclear materials, equipment and technologies.
  • The exceptional waiver provided by the NSG in 2008 was an acknowledgement of India’s non-proliferation record.



Why does India wants to become a member of NSG apart from above benefits?

  • It will improve legitimacy of India’s nuclear programme and India can sign nuclear deal with more countries for civilian use. 
  • India will become an active member in stopping the proliferation of nuclear material . Will get more information about how much nuclear material is possessed by which country. 2 of its neighbour are nuclear state which threat to India’s security. 
  • Many countries have refused to signed civil nuclear deal with India because it is not a signatory of NPT or not a member of NSG. Eg. Japan. For India’s energy security Nuclear reactors are necessary.



What is the status of India?

  • India has sought NSG membership since 2008.
  • As 48 member NSG works by consensus, not majority, India is reaching out to every possible country.
  • Earlier:
    • NSG asked India to sign NPT before it could be admitted
    • India demanded that it should be recognised as a “nuclear weapon state”
  • Now:
    • Softening of stance.
    • Instead of signing NPT, India has to align its civil nuclear safeguards with NSG guidelines.
    • There has been growing appreciation for Indian nuclear controls and capabilities since 2008.
  • The US has reaffirmed its support to India’s membership bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group and said it has called on other members of the elite grouping to back New Delhi’s application
  • But, China supporting Pakistan’s membership in NSG. When NSG decides on India’s membership it would open the way for other non-NPT states like Pakistan and Israel as well.


China’s stance:

  • China says India’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is pre-requisite for its membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or else there should be a common guidelines for the membership of the non-NPT states.
  • India has refused to sign the NPT citing the discriminatory provisions which provide undue advantages to the nuclear weapon designated states.


Reasons cited by China for opposing India’s Bid

China justifies its stand by citing the following justifications:

  • There should be no double standards in enforcing the NPT.
  • NPT is the cornerstone for the international nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and post-war international security system.
  • China has played important role in all the three aspects and China is committed to all three important goals of the treaty.
  • The international community should stick to multilateralism and promote progress the three pillars namely non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Hence China opposes double standards in enforcing the treaty.


Is there a hidden agenda?

  • All the members of P5 except China have endorsed India’s membership of NSG e based on India’s non-proliferation record.
  • After India’s application to the NSG, Pakistan also applied for the same. Pakistan is also a non-signatory to the NPT. Pakistan dubious record and its alleged role in technology transfer to North Korea have put a black mark in its track record.
  • Pakistan is a close ally of China and China is demanding a two-step approach which states that NSG members first need to arrive at a set of principles for the admission of non-NPT states into the group and then move forward discussions of specific cases.
  • This insistence of China has become a roadblock in attaining the membership of the NSG.


China’s history in this regard:

China has itself violated nuclear non-proliferation treaty in past and continues to do so:

  • After India’s 1974 atomic test, China signed a nuclear pact with Pakistan in 1976, which facilitated the transfer of nuclear weapons technology and missile production capabilities to Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • In a violation of NSG guidelines, China has sold additional nuclear power reactors to Pakistan. China has now encouraged Pakistan to apply for NSG membership and complicate India’s own efforts.


What is India’s response to China’s claim?

France was included in the elite group without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  India says, if France could become part of NSG, then India Can.


Why India did not join NPT?

India was one of the founder member of disarmament movement. But when NPT got finalised, India opposed it due to its discriminatory nature. India supports nuclear disarmament which will be possible when 5 recognised nuclear states commit themselves to destruct their nuclear stockpile. But, NPT allows them to keep their nuclear stockpile. NPT only restricts proliferation of nuclear technology. So, as per India, NPT divides world in nuclear haves and have-nots, which India opposes.


Indias nuclear non-proliferation record :

  1. India has maintained an exceptional record in nuclear non-proliferation despite not being any under legal obligation. India had been an ardent supporter of complete nuclear disarmament in all major international floras such as NAM, UN etc.
  2. It has maintained a strong commitment to controlling exports of nuclear materials, equipment and technologies.
  3. After 1998 nuclear tests when India became a nuclear weapon state, India tightened its systems further by introducing new laws and for nearly a decade, has been a voluntary adherent to the NSG guidelines.
  4. It has been a voluntary adherent to the NSG guidelines for last one decade.
  5. The exceptional waiver provided by the NSG in 2008 was an acknowledgement of India’s non-proliferation record.
  6. India pledged to subject its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards and currently 14 out of 23 nuclear reactors are already under IAEA safeguard.
  7. Autonomous institute like AEC to keep strict vigil on nuclear facilities; advanced security provisions in nuclear sites; stable democracy with diffused decision making power 

Also, India’s need for developing nuclear weapons is not driven by any misguided agenda to pursue regional dominance or to strong arm neighbouring states, but by pragmatic realization of threat from China and Pakistan, both nuclear powered states, one communists and other failed democratic state in the immediate neighbourhood. India has also committed to the policy of no-first use.



How India’s entry into NSG is good for the cause of non-proliferation?

  1. India has declared moratorium on the underground nuclear weapons testing which is in accordance with the spirit of NPT. This shows that India has abided by the non-proliferation rules even without being a party to NPT.
  2. India has carefully drafted its Nuclear Doctrine and has mentioned no first use, second strike capability and a policy of minimum deterrence at the core. This means India will not use its nuclear weapons unless it faced a nuclear attack. The development of INS Arihant and India’s Ballistic Missile Defence system shows that India believes in defensive strategies rather than first strike capability.
  3. India has also signed an additional protocol with IAEA which allows it access to all the civilian nuclear facilities and activities
  4. India may be today restricted by its meagre uranium reserve, but it has the technical capacity to use its abundant Thorium reserves. It will not be long before India loses interest in joining NSG. That will be a blow to non-proliferation effort.
  5. India has technological capacity to work independently. This makes India still more vital to non-proliferation efforts

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