In­dia’s un­reach­able dream to NSG

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Email: Reema Shaukat

IN­DIAN dream to be part of nu­clear trad­ing club was shat­tered when it was not given the mem­ber­ship for Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group few days back. Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s diplo­matic turns and plead­ing coun­tries to vote In­dia for NSG mem­ber­ship didn’t work nor the time and again ef­forts of In­dia to be part of this club seem to work out in fu­ture also. The NSG ple­nary which was held in Seoul, South Korea de­cided against per­mit­ting In­dian mem­ber­ship of the group and said it will con­tinue to have dis­cus­sions on par­tic­i­pa­tion of coun­tries which have not signed the Nu­clear Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty (NPT).

In its state­ment, at the con­clu­sion of the ple­nary, NSG de­clared its “firm support” for the “full, com­plete and ef­fec­tive” im­ple­men­ta­tion of the NPT as the cor­ner­stone of the in­ter­na­tional non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. How­ever, it said it had dis­cus­sions on the is­sue of ‘Tech­ni­cal, Le­gal and Po­lit­i­cal As­pects of the Par­tic­i­pa­tion of non-NPT States in the NSG’ and de­cided to con­tinue its dis­cus­sion. A dis­mayed In­dia ac­cused China that it is a big hur­dle in its mem­ber­ship for NSG but said that it will look for­ward for its support from some coun­tries in fu­ture which seems a far cry ap­par­ently and will surely not work for In­dia in days to come. Modi took var­i­ous diplo­matic ma­noeu­vres prior to NSG meet­ing in or­der to get favour across the globe. In­dian lead­er­ship was quite sure that with US support it will win ple­nary de­ci­sion in its favour but it turned out to be a failed diplo­macy. Sur­pris­ingly, In­dia which was boast­ing on US support for NSG, one of US sen­a­tor ap­pre­ci­ated group de­ci­sion and said that “Today, the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group (NSG) reaf­firmed its strong support for the Nu­clear Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty (NPT) by re­frain­ing from ad­mit­ting In­dia”.

The NSG was founded in re­sponse to In­dia’s 1974 nu­clear test and it has worked for decades to pre­vent the shar­ing of tech­nol­ogy that could con­trib­ute to the fur­ther spread of nu­clear weapons. Ed­ward Markey a US sen­a­tor who is fa­mous as In­dian basher said that “If In­dia joined the Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers Group, it would be the only par­tic­i­pat­ing gov­ern­ment in the or­gan­i­sa­tion that was not a party to NPT, weak­en­ing the NSG’s com­mit­ment to treaty. By re­frain­ing from ad­mit­ting In­dia, the NSG strength­ened both the treaty and the broader global non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime”. Push­ing Pak­istan to go nu­clear in 1998, In­dia first con­duced nu­clear tests in 1974 and later det­o­nated nu­clear de­vices in 1998. Thus, com­pelling Pak­istan to be­come nu­clear to main­tain strate­gic sta­bil­ity against its tra­di­tional ri­val. De­spite be­ing not given mem­ber­ship a smart move comes from In­dia re­cently in which it joined an exclusive group of coun­tries con­trol­ling ex­ports in mis­sile tech­nol­ogy.

This hawk­ish move by In­dia and fit­ting to­gether with the MTCR is be­ing seen as the next step for In­dia in le­git­imis­ing its nu­clear en­ergy and mis­sile pro­grammes af­ter it steered atomic tests in 1998 that star­tled the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. The Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Con­trol Regime (MTCR) is in­tended at scru­ti­niz­ing the unchecked pro­lif­er­a­tion of mis­siles and their delivery sys­tems. The MTCR re­stricts the pro­lif­er­a­tion of mis­siles, rocket sys­tems, UAVs and the tech­nol­ogy for sys­tems ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing a pay­load of 500kg for at least 300km, as well as sys­tems in­tended for the delivery of weapons of mass de­struc­tion.

In­dian hege­monic de­signs to be ul­ti­mate power in South Asian re­gion by un­der­min­ing Pak­istan and China is known fact. Steer­ing for arms race in re­gion, In­dia thinks that with US back­ing it will be able to be­come Asian su­per power but it is a mere dream which can­not come true. Pak­istan has al­ways stood out as an ex­em­plary na­tion in world com­mu­nity prov­ing it­self a peace­ful nu­clear coun­try. In­dia in th­ese past years failed to as­cer­tain it­self a safe nu­clear state as there were five cases of nu­clear theft re­ported in In­dia over the past two decades. In 2013 guer­rilla mil­i­tants had stolen Ura­nium from the Army Com­plex, but In­dian army re­mained com­pletely un­aware of the in­ci­dent.

In April 2016, an in­de­pen­dent US re­port by the Belfer Cen­tre at the Har­vard Kennedy School de­clared the In­dian nu­clear pro­gram not only un­safe but also called for a rea­son­able watch­dog. 26 In­dian sci­en­tists mys­te­ri­ously died over the past sev­eral years but their cause of death nor any con­cern by In­dian gov­ern­ments were ever shown. Of­ten, other mon­i­tor­ing agen­cies and re­search in­sti­tutes have also raised ques­tions on In­dian nu­clear pro­gram ex­pan­sion and its safety and showed se­ri­ous con­cerns as In­dia failed to prove it­self trust­wor­thy nu­clear coun­try in pre­vi­ous years. Pak­istan on the other hand main­tains strong cre­den­tials not only to be granted NSG mem­ber­ship in fu­ture, if In­dia does but knows well to main­tain strate­gic sta­bil­ity in South Asia. — The writer works for Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Con­flict and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think tank based in Is­lam­abad.

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