Nuclear Sector Current Affairs

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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