VIENNA:China is leading opposition to a push by the United States and other major powers…
NEW DELHI,NISHTHA GAUTAM: India may still have a shot at the long coveted membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group, or NSG as it is popularly known, after China has agreed for fresh talks. India’s hopes were thwarted earlier this year when the annual plenary session ended in June without taking any decision on its application. China, along with some other countries, objected to India’s entry to NSG.
What is NSG?
To begin with, the NSG was formed in 1975 in the aftermath of India’s nuclear test in 1974. It was conceptualised as an extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, which came into force in 1970. Since nuclear energy can also be harnessed for weapons development, it was felt that the export of nuclear equipment, materials and technology should be further restricted. The NPT has been encouraging countries to cooperate in peaceful usage of nuclear energy, and to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. India did not accept NPT. This was the biggest hurdle in getting an NSG membership. As of 2016, 48 countries are part of the NSG.
Why does India want to be a part of it?
India objected to the NPT on grounds of discrimination. As per the treaty, only those countries are allowed to legally possess nuclear weapons that tested them before 1967. When India applied for the NSG membership in May, this year, many countries like the USA, France, Russia, Japan, South Africa, Australia, Canada, Hungary, Turkey, Britain and Mexico extended their support. During the plenary session a month later, however, several countries including China expressed concerns over admitting members who did not sign the NPT.
AT A GLANCE
India believes that entry to the NSG will boost its efforts towards attaining clean energy goals. In the wake of global climate change, nuclear energy is seen as the way forward in minimising air pollution.
China seems to have softened its stand on India’s application. It is now ready for discussions to explore possibilities. However, it reiterates that “the procedures and norms and regulations of the NSG,” have to be followed. It may be seen as China’s attempt to safeguard its economic interests in the region in the wake of India’s growing strategic and geo-political influence.