Linking Nuclear Security and Terror
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent foreign tour had two objectives: garner support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and to highlight that nuclear security cannot be achieved without a concerted global approach to tackle terrorism. This entails acting on countries like Pakistan, where state actors collude with terrorists. Much of the prime minister’s engagement focused on India’s membership to global nuclear export regimes. Thus the focus on dispelling concerns about India’s efforts on nuclear security, by stressing on the high priority being given to the issue domestically, and in its international engagements by the contribution of $1million to the IAEA nuclear security fund and participation in three summit subgroups or ‘gift baskets’ on countering nuclear smuggling, nuclear security contact group in Vienna, sharing of best practices. The bilateral engagement with six NSG members controlling the export of nuclear technology is part of this effort. The most important demonstration of India’s leadership lies in the linking of the issue of terrorism and nuclear safety. In calling for the adoption of a global rather than national response to terror, New Delhi has brought to the fore a weakness in the current efforts to tackle terrorism. In reiterating the problem of state actors working with terrorists and nuclear traffickers, the prime minister turned the spotlight on a real but rarely recognised problem: Pakistan, with its fast-growing nuclear arsenal and nexus between the state apparatus and terrorists.
The true measure of success of this intervention will be evident at the NSG plenary in June — if India secures membership of this group. Failing which, this visit will be just one more stop in New Delhi’s continued diplomatic effort.