NSG Current Affairs

India-China first Strategic Dialogue held in Beijing

The first Strategic Dialogue between India and China was held in Beijing, capital of China to shore up bilateral ties.

The meeting was co-chaired by India’s Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and China’s Executive Vice Foreign minister Zhang Yesui.

Key Facts
  • The Strategic Dialogue mechanism between both countries was agreed to during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to India in August 2016.
  • In the first meeting, both countries discussed all issues of mutual interest in bilateral, regional and international domain. They also discussed issues of mutual concern and interest including friction points.
  • The dialogue strived to take a holistic view of the relations between the two countries. It also tried to an extent to accommodate each other’s concerns and interests.
  • On the issue of 1267 Committee’s sanctions on Masood Azhar: India once again explained the rationale for its application to committee and pointed out that the issue was also pursued by other countries too.
  • India held that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) itself is proscribed as terrorist organisation under 1267. So it is strong proof for declaring Azhar, founder of JeM a global terrorist.
  • On the NSG issue: China underlined that they were open to India’s application for membership. But it has own view of the procedures and processes which are different from most of the group’s members.
Background

In recent times, India-China ties have witnessed strain following China’s rigid stand on issues crucial to India such as membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and designation of JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) chief and Pathankot attack mastermind Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN under 1267 Sanctions list. In 2016, China had scuttled India’s membership bid at the meeting of NSG and also opposed banning of Azhar by the UN, apparently at the behest of Pakistan.

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China to block India’s bid for NSG membership

China has decided to once again block India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership ahead of plenary meet of NSG in Vienna, Austria.

Earlier, China along with few other member countries of NSG had blocked India’s membership proposal in the plenary meet of NSG in Seoul, South Korea in June 2016.

What is Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?

NSG is an elite group or cartel of countries concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be used for development of nuclear weapons. It was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s first successful nuclear tests (code name Smiling Buddha conducted on 18 May 1974) to stop so called misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. NSG’s members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. Currently, NSG has 48 members (including China) and works by consensus.

What are benefits for India by joining NSG?

  • NSG membership will be a significant boost for India which is seeking to expand its atomic energy sector.
  • It will pave the way for India to access to the advance technology for a range of uses from medicine to building nuclear power plants.
  • With this advance technology, India can commercialize the production of nuclear power equipment which will in turn boost innovation and high tech manufacturing in India.
  • It will give big boost to Make in India programme and exports as India will have ability to offer its own nuclear power plants to the world.
  • It will make domestic nuclear industry companies comply with international norms and make it easier for them to trade in international market.
  • It will help realise India’s commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce burden of oil and gas for energy security.
  • It will also help to realise India’s commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuels to meet its commitment to tackle the issue of the climate change.
  • Besides, it will recognition to India’s clean record track record in nuclear non-proliferation without being signatory of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) .

What is China’s concern?

China says that India’s membership and also of Pakistan will be considered only after rules for the entry of non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries is finalised by the elite group. It supports the notion of the two-step approach within the NSG to address the question of membership. The first stage includes reaching agreement on a non-discriminatory formula applicable to all the non-NPT states and in second stage to take up country-specific membership issues.

Comment

China is using India’s membership bid as a bargaining card for its membership to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which has been blocked by Western countries over the concerns about China’s export control standards. Even, China had supported Pakistan’s membership bid (applied May 2016) to counter India’s bid. However, many NSG members opposed Pakistan’s membership bid because of its poor track record.

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