India’s NSG application likely to hit roadblocks on June 9

Beijing does not want New Delhi to have “full legal acceptance” as a nuclear armed power and have an equal footing in the global nuclear regime.

By: ANI | Washington Dc | Published: June 6, 2016 10:48 am
India, Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG, India Nuclear Suppliers Group, India nuclear, India China nuclear, India China NSG, Non Proliferation Treaty India, NPT India, NSG India China may assert that members need to make the same exceptions for Pakistan as they have for India.

Leading American think tanks such as the Stimson Center, United States Institute of Peace and School of Advanced International Studies, feel that India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group application, which will come up for review on June 9 at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting, is likely to face many roadblocks due to China’s determined bid to stop India from becoming an NSG member.

Analysts in the United States believe that India’s NSG application is in a precarious position for several reasons, chief among them being China’s assertion that if the NSG countries make an exception for India, they should do the same for Pakistan, even though Islamabad has been caught selling nuclear weapons secrets to Libya and was named and shamed globally.

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“Pakistan and China have played their cards really well this time around. Pakistan has an application for NSG membership and China can, therefore, argue what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” said Micheal Krepon, a nuclear proliferation expert and co-founder of the Stimson Center, a think tank in Washington DC.

According to Krepon, the Chinese will underline the point that if the NSG makes an exception for India, the informal group of nations should allow Pakistan in too and that will compound the nuclear proliferation consequences because India becomes saddled with Pakistan’s terrible track record.

US experts say it is a fact that Pakistan¹s nuclear program from concept to delivery is dependent on supplies from China in violation of international norms. The heavy water plant and the plutonium production reactors at Khushab were made with Chinese assistance. Also in the civil nuclear field, China assisted Pakistan with the construction of nuclear power plants at Chashma. China is also involved in the proliferation of missile technology, say experts.

China’s objection to India’s membership to the NSG is by no means a principled stand given its own proliferation history, which one analyst called a “very bad record”. It is no secret that Beijing’s continued assistance to Pakistan for the latter’s civil and military nuclear program is in flagrant violation of the obligations and commitments it made as a member of the NSG.

“It would be very surprising if China lets India in without an equal concession for Pakistan,” said Colin Cookman, program officer at the United States Institute of Peace.

China has in the past talked of same status for Pakistan, but analysts believe the Chinese know that the US and several other NSG members will never agree to Pakistani membership.

Beijing does not want New Delhi to have “full legal acceptance” as a nuclear armed power and have an equal footing in the global nuclear regime. Analysts widely believe that China’s stand at the NSG is part of a strategic battle being fought in Asia. China was vehemently opposed to approval of the 2008 nuclear deal, but pulled back in the face of US and Indian pressure.

“China feared that a negative vote at that time would drive the Indians closer to the US in context of strategic hedging. Moreover, China believed that it could use its backing down as a carrot for India to move away from a closer strategic relationship with the US,” says Walter Andersen, Administrative Director of the South Asia Program at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

“China still does not want to antagonize India and will try to make an argument that it is not anti-India,” feels Daniel Markey, a South Asia expert.

“They will try to suggest that they are purely not anti-Indian, but their opposition is out of a sense of due equality of nations and so on and there is a principal to be upheld here,” he says.

But, China’s opposition is not the only hurdle for India. Nuclear proliferation experts point out that several NSG members are squeamish about supporting India’s membership because of its refusal to sign the CTBT and the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty. However, a bigger issue for some NSG members is that the promise of nuclear reactor construction contracts with India never materialised.

“All these countries were drooling at the possibility of selling power plants to India and that made them enthusiastic backers of India’s exceptions. But it hasn’t worked out that well,” says Krepon.

But India strongly believes that it has walked the mile when it comes to meeting some of the concerns raised by member countries. India has resolved nuclear liability issues and officials readily point to reports of Westinghouse finalizing a deal to build six nuclear reactors in India as proof that the domestic nuclear power market is finally ready and open for business.

While the US administration has backed India’s claim for membership, analysts feel that in 2008, the Bush administration led a “remarkable diplomatic effort that was quite strenuous” and such an effort is missing under the current administration.

“I think the Obama administration does not have as much on the line as the Bush administration did. They are supportive, but India has to basically pull a lot more of the weight. It looks like PM Modi is trying to do that, but it’s hard,” says Markey.

India has carried out a massive diplomatic exercise over the last decade in order to secure its membership to the NSG with President Mukherjee’s recent trip to China and Prime Minister Modi’s trip to Switzerland and Mexico seen as part of the final push.

India’s diplomatic efforts may manage to convince several NSG members to back India, but no one is ready to predict what will happen at the NSG meetings on June 9th and June 23rd. China’s objection certainly stacks the deck against India because the informal grouping of nations work on a consensus basis and it needs every country to at least not object to its membership.

While some analysts feel that if China is left standing alone they will back down again like in 2008, others say that there is more at stake this time around and China might go all the way. China knows that India in the NSG will have a say on nuclear issues in a way in which the waiver didn’t allow them and it also shuts down Pakistan’s chances of entering the NSG.

“When push comes to shove, will they actually oppose? They might. If you look at Chinese behavior in the UN with respect to protecting Pakistanis against sanctions over terrorism, they have been willing to veto and hold up,” says Markey.

China has been supporting Pakistan as a terror promoting state and it is in that backdrop that China’s support to Pakistan is being seen by US experts.

Washington-based think tanks believe that by backing Pakistan, China is set to isolate itself globally and would be seen as standing on the side of a known nuclear proliferator.

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  1. A
    Jun 7, 2016 at 8:37 am
    I don't think that China will oppose India's NSG application this time because of so many underlying reasons of recent cooling down of it's GDP to 7.5% and further down-hill path to 6.9%. To make this growing upward, China needs India's co-operation in the Industrial sector to open large scale industries. India and China have signed 12 agreements in Delhi during China Premier visit to Delhi during 2014, one of which will see China investing $20bn (�12.2bn) in India's infrastructure over five years. China is in discussions with India to help it build the world's second-longest high-speed railroad from New Delhi to Chennai with a price tag of 200 billion yuan ($32.6 billion). The bilateral trade between India and China has a potential worth over USD 80 billion in 2015 from USD 70 billion in 2014.This will create huge and unprecedented opportunities for both the countries. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;China-stan Economic corridor: Plans for a corridor stretching from the Chinese Western border to stan's port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. China's planned energy and transport corridor through stan to the Arabian Sea at more than $46bn for several years.The planned Chinese investment in this project is some four and a half times the total US economic aid to stan. The biggest obstacles to China's plans lie in the dysfunction and incompetence of stan's governing structures. But India signed an agreement with Iran and Afghanistan for the construction of Chabahar port recently that would make Indian dominance in the Persian Gulf region. As stan continues to be a faling partner, China will not heed the pressure from stan to oppose India's NSG entry.
    1. M
      Mangoman New
      Jun 6, 2016 at 7:11 am
      India was offered UN permanent Membership with Veto Power, but the Great PM of India Mr. NEHRU , gifted that offer to China ,,, why ? Only he;br/gt;*** One Scoundrel tried to get a Noble Price for Peace, but that Traitor didn't get it **
      1. R
        Jun 9, 2016 at 6:18 am
        Why are we always a step behind stan :( Why stan even exist in this world. We are living in complexity all the time. We love their actors in our movies, we love their singers but we hate stan. Sometimes I think are we hypocrites? lt;br/gt;stan is a small country but they have a strong army and a nuclear state. OMG. lt;br/gt;They wont hesitate for a second to convert India into ashes. They have no fear man. Cant we be friends with them? US has always ignored us and prefered stan. We are no less than a tissue paper for US.
        1. Vinay Mahindrakar
          Jun 6, 2016 at 8:02 am
          INDIA is having three side Sea Water, but India cannot provide half gl of Drinking Water or Water for fields of Agriculturist. Our wells and pounds are Drying up in the Summer. INDIA's backbone is Agriculture, lot of poor people work in the fields of Agriculture Lands they are not educated, they depend on Agriculture from Adi Kal (Ancient times/period). please make this Sea Water converted to Drinking Water and provide it is long distances like: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Other Long Places ... and today technology like Drone to purify and distribute to the fields from the Sky itself as today MED-DRONE are testing ...
          1. Vinay Mahindrakar
            Jun 6, 2016 at 8:10 am
            WHEN DID INDIA becomes SUPER POWER OF WORLD ...
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