All about India's upcoming NSG bid

India

28 May 2018

India to make a strong bid for NSG membership

India will make another strong bid to enter the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - a club of 48 countries that deal with nuclear technology and fissile material.

Incidentally, the NSG is the only major export control regime that India isn't a part of, and its efforts to enter the club has been persistently opposed by China.

The NSG will meet in June and December.

The other major export regimes which India is part of

India is already a part of the three other major export control regimes - the Missile Control Group, the Wassenaar Agreement, and the Australia Group - and gained entry into these regimes on June 2016, December 2017, and January 2018, respectively.

Last attempt

India's last attempt at entry was blocked by Beijing

India's last attempt at entry was blocked by Beijing

The issue of India's entry to the NSG came up at the group's Seoul plenary in June 2017, but Beijing opposed India's entry on the grounds that it wasn't a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

China held that the group first needed to agree on principles regarding the admission of non-NPT states into the NSG, before discussing specific cases like India.

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NSG membership

The road ahead is bound to be difficult

Membership in the NSG would be a massive policy achievement for the Modi government ahead of the 2019 elections.

However, the hectic diplomatic road ahead for India is a tricky one since the NSG works on the basis of consensus and thus, even one country having restrictions against India could block our chances of entry.

Keeping that in mind, India has adopted a three-pronged strategy.

How a NSG membership would benefit India

Membership in the NSG would grant India access to state-of-art technology ranging from medicines to nuclear power plants. Additionally, it would allow India to scale up nuclear power production as a push towards clean energy, and to offer its own nuclear plants to the world.

India's strategy

India's three-pronged strategy to get NSG membership

India's three-pronged strategy to get NSG membership

Firstly, India is working with friendly nations in the NSG to endorse its entry into the club.

Secondly, it's trying to dispel the notion that countries like Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa, which signed the NPT and gave up their nuclear programme, can cite procedural issues against India's admission.

Finally, India is advocating that admission in the NSG should be "merit-based" rather than "criteria-based".

Merit-based vs criteria-based admission

Under the "merit-based" approach being advocated by India, the NSG should factor in India's non-proliferation track record despite it not being a NPT signatory. Under the China-backed "criteria-based" approach, NSG must first decide how to accommodate non-NPT nations before discussing India's membership.

Support

How India is working to secure the support of others

Just days back, during Dutch PM Mark Rutte's India visit, The Netherlands and India released a joint statement wherein The Netherlands reaffirmed its "strong support to building consensus among...members on the issue of India's membership" to the NSG.

Meanwhile, India has been urging the US and Russia to influence other countries, while Indian ministers, diplomats are actively working with other member nations for support.

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Nuclear Suppliers Group

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Mark Rutte

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