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Expectations From NSG Forthcoming Plenary – OpEd

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With the approaching of the twenty-eighth Plenary Meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an elite nuclear cartel to control nuclear commerce, the fingers are crossed once again with regards to the non-NPT state’s membership issue. With this in the contemporary international security environment, the NSG membership debate has emerged as an urgent issue for the states in Asia, explicitly.

It is known to all that the US is lobbying and pressuring the rest of the states in order to accommodate India into the NSG club, and this all began post-Indo US nuclear deal.For this purpose the international community is continually portraying India’s nuclear track record as A grade. This could be to achieve their (big powers) self-centered goals. After the US, many other countries have followed suit by engaging India into similar kind of Uranium deals (Indo-US Nuclear Deal) for a dual purpose. Undoubtedly, India is one of the worst proliferators; it once had scornful disdain for non-proliferation regimes, which has now been conveniently forgotten by the world. Consequently, it has negative implications for the South Asian nuclear region.

Previously, several countries, apart from China, were defying the US pressure and insisting on a two-step approach for admission of non-NPT states into the NSG and for the need to develop an objective and equitable criteria, which would be applicable to all the applicants in future. On the other hand, India has ruled out the possibility of joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapon state. Amandeep Singh Gill, permanent representative of India to the Conference on Disarmament, told the UN General Assembly recently that the question of India joining 6th NPT as NNWS (non-nuclear weapon states) can not arise in the near future.

In the backdrop of China’s continued efforts to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Indian official said that it has taken up with Beijing all the concerning issues concerning during the recent Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Dialogue between the two sides. The Indian delegation at the talks was led by Pankaj Sharma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs) in the MEA, while the Chinese side was led by Wang Qun, Director General of Department of Arms Control at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. This is a step that India considers as much needed one, especially after its entry into three of the four multilateral export control regimes over the last two years.

If India wants recognition as a nuclear weapons state, it should be required to meet the nuclear group’s standards, including opening negotiations with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons and halting the production of nuclear fuel for bombs. In this regard, President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that India’s alone entry into NSG would put back Pakistani efforts for developing its infrastructure and industry by decades. Therefore, such an eventuality would have serious consequences for national security and economic and industrial development of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, the outcome of this forthcoming plenary meeting on the enlargement of cartel’s memberships would not come as a surprise because no major breakthrough for non-NPT states accession to NSG is expected for foreseeable future, viewing no change in China’s position for accepting new or non-NPT countries into its fold.

However, it is yet to be seen what consensus participating Governments will reach on the admission of new states into its folds. However Pakistan feels encouraged by the increasing number of states supporting neutral formula and realizing Pakistan’s concerns about preferential treatment extended to India. It is hoped that NSG members would adopt an impartial criteria for all non-NPT countries in the forthcoming plenary meeting. Otherwise another exemption for India would accelerate arms race in South Asian region by infuriating Pakistan to expand its nuclear capabilities and will also question international efforts to curb proliferation. To sum-up, criteria-based NSG membership is a mutually beneficial proposition because it will benefit the strategic restraint, the stability in South Asia, the Non-proliferation regime, NPT and NSG.


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Beenish Altaf

Beenish Altaf

Beenish Altaf works for the Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad and be reached at [email protected] Ms. Beenish Altaf holds masters degree in Defence and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

9 thoughts on “Expectations From NSG Forthcoming Plenary – OpEd

  • May 30, 2018 at 4:07 am
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    Beenish, you have been keeping up this trope for ages now. The point is Pakistan is only useful to China as a ‘door jammer’ to an Indian entry to NSG.

    While it may suit you to conveniently forget the proliferation record of Pakistan (something retired Strategic Planning Division people, the libyans, iranians and all sundry folks have been happy to prove), rest assured there are enough countries who will not set it aside so cavalierly

    to re-phrase Ghalib “we know the reality of Reality o’ Ghalib, but to keep the heart happy, this idea is good” —> keeping your head buried in the sand won’t do you or your nation any good. good luck.

    Reply
  • May 30, 2018 at 6:19 pm
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    This is a lopsided analysis of reality. The following three points make my standpoint clear:
    (1) Firstly, it is not India, but Pakistan that has an abysmal track record of nuclear proliferation. It is a well known fact that Pakistan’s A. Q. Khan smuggled the blueprint of a uranium enrichment centrifuge from the Netherlands, swapping it for the design of a highly enriched uranium (HEU) implosion device with China. It supplied nuclear technology in exchange for missile know how with North Korea. Subsequently, Pakistan transferred nuclear centrifuges to Libya and Iran through a covert network of middlemen. After it drew international attention, Musharraf refused to allow an team of international experts to investigate the matter. In short, in its quest for an “Islamic bomb”, Pakistan played a very dangerous game of running a virtual nuclear Walmart. In sharp contrast, India’s track record on nuclear non-proliferation has been impeccable.
    (2) Secondly, India has signed and ratified the Additional Protocol with the IAEA and has placed ten of its nuclear reactors (the ones for civilian use) under IAEA safeguard. Pakistan is not in a position to do so, as most of its reactors are for military use. Its few civilian reactors are of Chinese design. Furthermore, China is building two more nuclear reactors in Pakistan, under the pretext that its assistance to Pakistan’s civilian nuclear program had been planned before China’s entry into the NSG in 2004, much to the chagrin of the other members. India has shown itself to be a responsible, worthy global player that merits being on the NSG. What more, India is already a member of NSG’s sister groupings – the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenaar Arrangement (while China has been denied entry).
    (3) Lastly, India is a state with advanced nuclear technology. It has a large research program and has made significant advances in breeder reactor technology. India’s know how in constructing smaller reactors can be shared with smaller non-nuclear weapons states with structural limitations of their energy grids and a few nations have already evinced an interest. India’s participation in the international nuclear regime would be a boon to curb global climate change. Simultaneously, India offers a large and lucrative market to international manufacturers like Westinghouse to set up shop there. India has substantial expertise in nuclear research and is currently designing thorium-fueled reactors that do not result in a proliferation of weapons-grade plutonium. India is a partner to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project and is one of the seven nations in building the equipment for this massive undertaking that will will use hydrogen fusion to produce huge amounts of thermal energy. Clearly India participation in the global nuclear regime has major benefits for all.

    Reply
  • May 31, 2018 at 1:36 am
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    India, just like any other responsible state, has a vociferous anti-nuclear lobby that is gaining strength. Its missile program is an offshoot of its well recognized space program, and its nuclear program began as a civilian one. On the other hand, today is “Youm-e-Taqbir,” a national holiday in Pakistan, designed to celebrate its detonating 7 nuclear devices in 1998 (the goal being to test one more than India’s 6, not for scientific reasons). As a nuclear weapons state, Pakistan stands out as an anomaly.
    .
    Will Pakistan readily give up its nuclear weapons when the other nations possessing them do so? Or will it try to cling on to the sole accomplishment in its short 7 decades of existence, that its citizens can boast of? That is the million dollar question.

    Reply
  • May 31, 2018 at 8:16 am
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    After forty years of expedition, NSG is down the line to compromise India as a member state to export nuclear equipment, material or technology. To embrace India as an NSG member effort were started after President Obama visits India in 2010 issuing a joint statement.

    Reply
    • May 31, 2018 at 10:00 am
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      If they can compromise and get an arch proliferator like China in, then India has a much better case
      (in case you feel like denying, please read your ex PA SPD Chief Brig Gen F H Khan’s book ‘eating grass’)

      at the end of the day, pakistan is a useful ‘door jammer’ for china vs india in the NSG. nothing to be proud of. how do you think running such a negative campaign will help pak. enter the NSG?

      PS: the US red listing and the recent reports that pakistan remains the most active player in the illegal global nuclear market shows pakistan has not yet put A Q Khan behind and is still brazening it out.

      Reply
      • May 31, 2018 at 6:32 pm
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        China has an abysmal record on non-proliferation and rightly, should not belong to the NSG. It managed to get into the NSG because it is one of the original N5 in the NPT – a flawed treaty that needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history (in today’s world India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel have justifiable reasons for possessing nuclear weapons, whereas UK and France do not).
        .
        Frankly, North Korea and Israel have better track records on nuclear non-proliferation than China and Pakistan have in this regard (neither North Korea nor Israel have illegally exported nuclear technology to other nations although North Korea did import such technology from Pakistan).
        .
        It is of little surprise that China’s foray at entering the 35 member MTCR was declined on the grounds that it was not adhering to the regime’s export control standards. China will try to enter MTCR sooner than later. It is noteworthy that India has declared that it would not stonewall China’s entry into MTCR as quid pro quo.

        Reply
  • June 1, 2018 at 6:24 am
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    Since the NSG episode is started India seems to be enthusiastically lobbying for its membership. Its diplomats are judiciously publicising India’s credentials for NSG membership. Instead of asking for non discriminatory and objective treatment its been asking for favor and using unfair means to get into the club.India nuclear program is highly unsafeguarded. Considering the poor safety and security record of India’s nuclear program. India is using its unsafe guarded nuclear reactors most probably for building the nuclear arms other than for civil purposes. International community considering the unsafe and unsecured nuclear credentials of India must not be favoring it for getting into NSG. Rather go for non discriminatory and objective reasoning for making the countries to be part of NSG

    Reply
    • June 1, 2018 at 9:15 am
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      standard pakistani tripe about criteria. by your logic China should be first kicked out of NSG. get it?

      1. what did India go through between 2004-2008 when it got NSG waiver? all criteria then was for fun?

      2. So in 2008 US China Russia and all 48 NSG members and IAEA still allowed waiver knowing India’s program is unsafe is it?

      3. As per your logic Roosh, only pakistan has full right to have a totally unsafe, unmonitored program based on running a proliferation blackmarket internationally?

      you guys are an useful door jammer for China in the NSG. All that objective reason is meaningless excuse given by China to block India. Being negative and hating India won’t help one bit.

      Reply
    • June 6, 2018 at 10:07 am
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      The Indo-US merit-based approach is as fair as the Chinese criteria-based approach, and the latter has just the support of Turkey in the NSG.
      .
      Besides, Pakistan won’t qualify even under the criteria-based approach, dues to its proliferation record, recent illegitimate purchases, rapidly growing arsenal, and reluctance to place most of its reactors under IAEA scrutiny.

      Reply

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