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Nuclear Suppliers Group

Topics Covered:

  1. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  2. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Nuclear Suppliers Group


What to study?

  • For Prelims: NSG- key facts.
  • For Mains: Why India should be given NSG membership, challenges involved and what needs to be done.


Context: China has refused to dilute its stand on India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), asserting that New Delhi must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty to gain entry as there is no precedent for the inclusion of non-NPT countries.


What’s the issue?

India has been seeking entry into NSG, but China has repeatedly stonewalled its bid.

Why? India is not a signatory to the NPT. China has stuck to its stand that new members should sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), making India’s entry difficult as the group is guided by the consensus principle.


What is NSG?

  1. Brought in 1974– in response to the Indian nuclear test (smiling Buddha).
  2. It is a Multilateral export control regime.
  3. It is a Group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  4. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, and is thus popularly referred to as the “London Club”.
  5. It is Not a formal organization, and its guidelines are not binding. Decisions, including on membership, are made by consensus.
  6. Membership: 48 supplier states.


Criteria for membership:

  1. The ability to supply items (including items in transit) covered by the annexes to Parts 1 and 2 of the NSG Guidelines;
  2. Adherence to the Guidelines and action in accordance with them;
  3. Enforcement of a legally based domestic export control system which gives effect to the commitment to act in accordance with the Guidelines;
  4. Full compliance with the obligations of one or more of nuclear non-proliferation agreement.
  5. Support of international efforts towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery vehicle.


Why the membership is important for India?

  • Membership will increase India’s access to state-of-the-art technology from the other members of the Group.
  • Access to technology and being allowed to produce nuclear equipment will give a boost to the Make in India program. That will, in turn, boost the economic growth of our country.
  • As per India’s INDC under the Paris Climate agreement, we have committed to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring that 40% of its energy is sourced from renewable and clean sources. In order to achieve this target, we need to scale up nuclear power production. This can only happen if India gains access to the NSG.
  • Namibia is the fourth-largest producer of uranium and it agreed to sell the nuclear fuel to India in 2009. However, that hasn’t happened, as Namibia has signed Pelindaba Treaty, which essentially controls the supply of uranium from Africa to the rest of the world. If India joins the NSG, such reservations from Namibia are expected to melt away.
  • India will get an opportunity to voice it’s concern if in case of change in the provision of the NSG guidelines.


Other Benefits associated with NSG membership- Once admitted, an NSG member state gets:

  1. Timely information on nuclear matters.
  2. Contributes by way of information.
  3. Has confirmed credentials.
  4. Can act as an instrument of harmonization and coordination.
  5. Is part of a very transparent process.


Need of the hour:

India should convince China that, its interest in NSG membership is not guided by any political or strategic considerations but only to facilitate the expansion of its clean and green nuclear energy programme.

Besides, India should continue with a low-key building of partnership with other NSG members. Meanwhile, India should focus on developing the efficient green energy technologies to meet the massive energy requirement.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: In your opinion, why did China block India’s NSG membership bid? Critically comment.