Sino Qua Non

India Today - - MAIL -

The Great Wall of Xi was a clear and re­fresh­ingly jar­gon-free ex­am­i­na­tion of the real is­sues at stake. It showed In­dia’s ne­go­ti­a­tions for the Nuclear Sup­pli­ers Group mem­ber­ship not as a diplo­matic de­ba­cle but as a cal­i­brated move. A sec­tion of the me­dia, in­clud­ing so­cial me­dia, was abuzz with cryp­tic re­marks that seemed to sug­gest the world would come to an end if In­dia didn’t get en­try into the NSG. Such stray re­marks only con­fuse the lay reader more. There are no per­ma­nent friends or foes in diplo­macy. We can only hope that the ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­istry suc­ceeds in tact­fully woo­ing its neigh­bour.


China hav­ing made its po­si­tion on the mat­ter clear, In­dia’s hope for NSG mem­ber­ship was a frag­ile one. In the bar­gain, China suc­ceeded in em­bar­rass­ing us and gave Pak­istan cause for amuse­ment. The Modi gov­ern­ment needs to be less trans­par­ent about its plans the next time. A red

car­pet may hide not-sofriendly in­ten­tions, es­pe­cially when spread by an enemy’s friend.


The clutch of de­vel­oped coun­tries pres­sur­ing In­dia, still cop­ing with an en­ergy cri­sis, to tran­si­tion from fos­sil fu­els to clean en­ergy are the same ones deny­ing it ac­cess to clean nuclear en­ergy. No­tably, the NSG and the Aus­tralia Group. This is de­spite In­dia prov­ing to be a re­spon­si­ble nuclear na­tion. The Modi gov­ern­ment failed to gauge ac­cu­rately China’s hos­til­ity and its un­com­pro­mis­ing stand on In­dia’s en­try into the 48-mem­ber cartel. In­dia can, how­ever, take so­lace in its ac­cep­tance into the elite Mis­sile Tech­nol­ogy Con­trol Regime (MTCR). In­dia’s role here ac­quires salience as China’s ap­pli­ca­tion was re­jected by the group on the grounds of covert sup­ply of nuclear tech­nol­ogy to North Korea, Pak­istan and Iran. As one of MTCR’s veto-wield­ing members, In­dia will be in a po­si­tion to give China a taste of its own medicine.

NALINI VIJAYARAGH­AVAN, Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram

If we go solely by the NSG rule­book, In­dia should not feel short­changed be­cause it clearly states na­tions which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty can­not be con­sid­ered for ad­mit­tance into the club. Still, it ran­kles, given In­dia’s cred­i­ble record so far, non-op­po­si­tion from most other NSG members and China’s ear­lier as­sur­ance of not op­pos­ing In­dia’s mem­ber­ship bid. Nehru had taken China’s side for the UNSC seat, but our neigh­bour has not demon­strated any grat­i­tude what­so­ever. We have to adopt a very bal­anced ap­proach to­wards China, to si­mul­ta­ne­ously win over its sup­port while mak­ing it clear that bilateral ties can be strained be­cause of such ob­sti­nacy.


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