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Here’s what we are going the explain in this writeup:

  • The Backstory
  • What is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?
  • What does India need to do to get in?
  • Does joining the MTCR make getting missile technology easier?
  • Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?
  • Are there any sanctions for breaking MTCR rules?
  • Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?
  • Why does India want to be in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?
  • Why does the US want India in the NSG?
  • Why doesn’t Pakistan want India in?
  • And what is China’s problem?
  • Why then did China go along with the NSG waiver in 2008?
  • Why does India want to join Proliferation control regimes?
  • Why is India’s Bid for NSG being criticized?

source

The Backstory

  • Since 2008, India has been pushing forward to become an NSG member, where decisions are consensus based and not based on majority votes
  • It has also been looking for membership of other groups such as MTCR
  • India recently became the Member of MTCR, however its bid for getting membership of NSG was not successful because of opposition from China and 12 other NSG members

#1. All about MTCR

What is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)?

Established in April 1987, it is a voluntary association of 35 countries and 4 “unilateral adherents” that follow its rules: Israel, Romania, Slovakia, Macedonia.

The group aims to slow the spread of missiles and other unmanned delivery technology that could be used for chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

The regime urges members, which include most of the world’s major missile manufacturers, to restrict exports of missiles and related technologies capable of carrying a 500 kg payload at least 300 km, or delivering any type of weapon of mass destruction.

How does one become a member of MTCR?

  • Prospective members must win consensus approval from existing members. United States policy had been that members that are not recognised nuclear-weapon states — including India — must eliminate or forgo ballistic missiles able to deliver a 500 kg payload at least 300 km
  • The US, however, made an exception in 1998 for Ukraine, permitting it to retain Scud missiles and, in October 2012, South Korea was allowed to keep ballistic missiles with an 800-km range and 500-kg payload that could target all of North Korea
  • For India, the US have waived these terms, allowing it retain its missile arsenal

Does joining the MTCR make getting missile technology easier?

  • There are no special concessions for MTCR members. But India hopes its MTCR membership will be one more reason for the US to consider exporting Category 1 UAVs, Reaper and Global Hawk, which have been key to counter-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen
  • These drones have so far been sold to only one country, the UK, though unarmed versions have also been made available to Italy and South Korea
  • The US has been rethinking rules on exports, aware that competitors in Israel, Russia and China are working on similar products — and India wants to be at the head of the queue when the Reaper and the Global Hawk go on the market

Are there any sanctions for breaking MTCR rules?

  • Rule breakers can’t be punished.
  • However, US law mandates sanctions for companies and governments that export MTCR-controlled items. The sanctioned entity can’t sign contracts, buy arms and receive aid for two years or more.

Does the MTCR actually stop the spread of missile technology?

  • Yes and no. North Korea, Iran and Pakistan acquired ballistic missile technology from China. But then, China began to feel the pinch of US technology sanctions — and announced, in November 2000, that it would stop exporting ballistic missile technology.
  • Four years later, it applied for MTCR membership — but has been denied entry because of suspicion that some companies in the country are secretly supplying technology to North Korea.
  • Many others dropped missile programmes because of MTCR pressure: Argentina abandoned its Condor II ballistic missile programme (on which it was working with Egypt and Iraq) to join the regime. Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan shelved or eliminated missile or space launch vehicle programmes. Poland and the Czech Republic destroyed their ballistic missiles.

It is possible China may now seek some kind of bargain, whereby it is given entry to the MTCR in return for letting India get into the NSG, where it wields a veto.

What after MTCR?

  • Admission to the MTCR would open the way for India to buy high-end missile technology
  • It will also make India’s aspiration to buy state-of-the-art surveillance drones such as the U.S. Predator, made by General Atomics.

#2. All about NSG

Why does India want to be in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)?

Following India’s 1974 nuclear tests, the US pushed for setting up a club of nuclear equipment and fissile material suppliers.

The 48-nation group frames and implements agreed rules for exporting nuclear equipment, with a view to controlling the spread of nuclear weapons; members are admitted only by consensus.

India has been trying, since 2008, to join the group, which would give it a place at the high table where the rules of nuclear commerce are decided — and, eventually, the ability to sell equipment.

Many countries that initially opposed its entry, like Australia, have changed stance; Mexico and Switzerland are the latest to voice support. India’s effort has been to chip away at the resistance, leaving only one holdout — China. But until China accepts India’s entry, there is no hope of membership.

Why does the US want India in the NSG?

The answer lies in the US effort to strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, whose centrepiece is the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

The NPT defines “nuclear weapons states” as those that tested devices before January 1, 1967 — which means India cannot ever be one.

India — like Israel and Pakistan — thus refused to sign the treaty. From 2005, though, President George W Bush’s administration sought ways to deepen strategic cooperation with India.

Nuclear energy was a key means to strengthen cooperation, but since India wasn’t a member of the NPT, technology couldn’t be shared. Then, a way forward was found — the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement.

India agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes, and put the civilian part under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

India also changed its export laws to line up with the NSG, MTCR, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group — the 4 key nuclear control regimes.

The US agreed to shepherd India’s entry into these regimes, which meant India would for all practical purposes be treated like an NPT member, even though it wasn’t one.

Why doesn’t Pakistan want India in?

The Pakistani argument is that giving India easy access to fissile material and technology for its civilian nuclear programme means it would have that much more material for its military nuclear programme.

Thus, Pakistan says, the move to give India NSG membership is fuelling a nuclear arms race.

But this argument falls apart because Pakistan is resolutely opposed to a key international agreement called the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT), which would cap the military nuclear stockpiles of all countries. The FMCT ought to put an end to Pakistan’s fears, but Islamabad has refused to sign.

Why has China opposed India’s Bid for NSG?

Chinese diplomats say Beijing wants NSG entry to be norm-based , in other words, whatever rules govern Indian entry should apply to others too.

Norm-based entry would, presumably, help Pakistan gain entry, something many in the NSG are certain to resist because of the country’s record as a proliferator of nuclear-weapons technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Why then did China go along with the NSG waiver in 2008?

Geopolitics!

The 2008 one-time waiver allowed nuclear commerce between NSG members and India — the agreement that now allows Westinghouse, and its competitors in France or South Korea, to bid to set up civilian reactors in India.

The waiver came only after President Bush rang President Hu Jintao and called in a favour. Back then, US-China relations were riding high — on the back of surging trade, and a common vision of how the international order should be structured.

Today, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping are at odds over Chinese muscle-flexing in the South China Sea. The odds of a phone call changing the state of play are next to zero.

Why does India want to join Proliferation control regimes?

  • India’s membership of the NSG and other proliferation control regimes notably the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement is important in order to shatter the myth of it being an “outlier” to the non-proliferation regime as also to facilitate its trade, both imports and exports, of nuclear, missile and other related sensitive technologies.
  • Membership of these regimes will enhance India’s status in this critical area from merely an adherent to a rule maker.
  • It will also enable India to ensure that these regimes perform their mandated role of promoting non-proliferation effectively and not hurt its commercial interests.

Why India’s recent NSG bid is being criticized?

  • Many experts believe that after the clean waiver of 2008 and the 2011 amendment of the NSG rules (that non-NPT countries would not be entitled to the transfer of the reprocessing and enrichment technology), there is not much merit in seeking a membership of the NSG.
  • The worst outcome of this aggressive bidding was that at NSG forum India’s nuclear regime got hyphenated with Pakistan. It has taken a great deal of effort on the part of successive governments in India to kill the idea of that hyphenation.
  • It suits China ideally to put India in the same bracket as Pakistan. However for India it is diminishing to get itself compared with rogue state like Pakistan who have a dismal track record with respect to Nuclear Proliferation.

References:

Any doubts?


  1. Root

    Updated with CD Explains + Questions

  2. Er S

    Ans to Q3 : Mods + Dr. V. Request to kindly point out more points that can be incorporated.

    India was branded as an ‘outlier’ when it was given a waiver to trade with the NSG countries despite being a non-NPT state. Since then India has been trying to get rid of the tag.
    According to India, its commitment to disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation has been impeccable. India was at the forefront of discussions which led to the NPT. However it refused to sign as it considered its terms, most prominently the distinctions between nuclear haves and havenots, unjust and unequal. India then went ahead with its first nuclear test Pokhran 1. This development didn’t work well for its international relations. India justified itself by accusing China of acquiring nuclear capabilities and threatening to use it against India. Nehru himself accepted that India was surrounded by a hostile environment and hence couldnt depend on others for its security. Pokhran 2 had similar response from the intl community.
    The international community has blamed India for starting a nuclear arms race in the region which eventually led to pakistan acquiring nuclear weapons. The NSG was created as a response to Pokhran 1 to keep India out of international nuclear trade. However India’s Nuclear Policy of ’No first use’ and adhering to the norms setup by international regimes without being a member have been well appreciated across the globe. This was one of the main reasons it became easier for US to push for a waiver in NSG.
    NSG membership should not be hard to come by if India uses its diplomacy well. At present it faces opposition from China which has become more powerful and assertive in the international arena. As Suhasini Haider points out, its important to keep pushing for the agenda and a setback in the vienna session should not discourage India from being hopeful in the upcoming Mexico meet in december. Backdoor diplomacy should be explored as it has yielded good results in the past.

    1. Suvendu Guria

      India conducted nuclear tests on 11th and 13 May of year 1998. After few days on 28th and 30th May, 1998 Pakistan conducted nuclear tests. Still India will be blamed because of Pakistan’s acquiring of nuclear weapon! Even though a nuclear test needs huge time to conduct. It’s not possible within 2 weeks of time.

    2. Focus Ias

      Good attempt and fine flow. Will you/ Can we use names of journalists in the answer attempts?

      1. Er S

        it adds weight to sentences that are obvious.

  3. Root

    CD Explains updated.

  4. NANDINI Nandini

    current awerness

  5. eswara babu

    Does India get advantage in getting UNSC membership with MTCR (membership)? Please clarify doubt

    1. Shikhar Sachan

      Yes. There is no hard and fast rule that one has to be a member of MTCR for a Permanent Seat at the UN. But it increases your credibility as a leader and believer of non-proliferation. In that sense – it makes your case stronger.

  6. eswara babu

    India by becoming member of MTCR, does be allowed to develop Agni, Prithvi etc missiles? Please clear doubt

  7. tahir fazal

    to the CD team, in view of NSG & MTCR kindly cover Australia Group & Wassenaar Arrangement. Question had come in 2011 Pre on these export control regimes. & also the 3 associated treaties – NPT, CTBT, FMCT. Thanks.

    1. Root

      All of these have been covered by Dr. V at the forum. Refer to the tag of Prelims tit bits there.

  8. S Giri

    What is e governance?

  9. S Giri

    What is NSG and membership countries in?

    1. Er S

      The exact clauses of these groupings can be hard to follow. All you need to remember is that there are 4 export control regimes – NSG, MTCR, AG, WA of which India wants to be a part. NSG coordinates export controls on items which can be used to build nuclear weapons(directly and indirectly). Similarly others have clauses referring to other destructive materials. NSG is a 48 member body as given in this page.

Opposed to ‘weaponisation’ of outer space: India to UN

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), NAM, Conference on Disarmament, Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty

Mains level: Threats posed by weaponization of outer space and international efforts to stop that


News

Keeping outer space safe

  1. India has voiced opposition to the “weaponization” of outer space, saying it should not become an area of conflict
  2. India has called for collective efforts to strengthen safety and security of the space-based assets
  3. This was said at the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)
  4. India attaches much importance to the UNDC as the specialized deliberative leg of the disarmament machinery

New agenda of outer space

  1. Deliberations will begin on the new agenda of outer space – the first in the last 18 years
  2. The group of governmental experts on outer space will meet in Geneva in August later this year
  3. It has been mandated to make recommendations on the substantive elements of an international legally-binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space

Conference on Disarmament (CD)

  1. India has supported the proposal put forward by NAM for the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to commence negotiations on a comprehensive Nuclear Weapons Convention
  2. India has also supported the commencement of negotiations of an FMCT (Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty) in the CD on the basis of the agreed mandate

Back2Basics

UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)

  1. In 1952, the UN General Assembly created the United Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC) under the Security Council
  2. The Disarmament Commission was re-established at the first Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament in 1978 to succeed an earlier Disarmament Commission, which ceased to convene after 1965
  3. It was created as a deliberative body, with the function of considering and making recommendations on various issues in the field of disarmament and of following up on the relevant decisions and recommendations of the special session
  4. It has a mandate to prepare proposals for a treaty for the regulation, limitation and balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments, including the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction
  5. It reports annually to the General Assembly
  6. Since 1978, the Disarmament Commission has dealt with numerous disarmament-related questions, both nuclear and conventional

[op-ed snap] Forging a new nuclear deal

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement, pressurised heavy water reactors

Mains level: Nuclear energy and various aspects related to it


Context

India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement

  1. The agreement would enable American companies to build nuclear power reactors in India
  2. Its been 10 years since the memoranda of understanding were inked
  3. There is no sign yet of any concrete contract between an American company and the Indian authorities to build a reactor

Importance of the agreement

  1. The U.S. had considerably shifted its stand on non-proliferation to give India the waivers needed
  2. They were to herald India’s arrival on the global nuclear power stage

What all has changed in recent years

  1. There has been a shift in global politics,
  2. Use of renewable energy technology is rising
  3. The U.S.’s commitment to India has changed,
  4. The supplier’s capacity and ability are also in question

Changes in the deal

  1. Westinghouse (a supplier of nuclear reactors) went into major cost overruns
  • This was for building four AP1000 reactors at two projects in the U.S., the same reactors as the ones meant for India
  • When work was halted on the Westinghouse projects in South Carolina, the construction was already five years over schedule
  • India’s past record with Russian projects puts the meantime to construct a reactor here at nine years
  • This would mean that even if an India-U.S. techno-commercial contract is finally readied in 2019, it may not see fruition until 2029

2. Donald Trump’s presidency has taken a very sharp turn away from renewable energy

  • Mr. Trump said that the U.S. will now mine, export and push oil, gas, coal and shale trade into its foreign outreach
  • As a result, New Delhi may not get the support that the Obama administration had promised both on financing renewable energy projects and in facilitating India-U.S. civil nuclear power deals

3. India’s own requirements from the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal have changed

  • In May 2017, the Cabinet approved an $11 billion, 7,000 MW construction plan for 10 Indian-made pressurised heavy water reactors (PHWRs)
  • India hopes to have 14,600 MW of nuclear power online by 2024
  • India has also found much more comfort in its existing agreement with Russia’s Atomstroyexport

What should India focus on?

  1. Shifts in the world nuclear industry must be studied closely before heading back into negotiations with new companies
  2. Nuclear safety requirements have become more stringent
  3. Nuclear power is losing its primacy in the energy mix
  4. More countries now see nuclear power as a “base-load” option, to be kept as back-up for the unstable, but infinitely less costly and eco-friendly solar and hydroelectric power options

Way forward

  1. The India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement for commercial projects, as it was completed all those years ago, is now obsolete
  2. Reviving it will require a different template that takes into account India and the new global realities

India joins chemical weapons parts export control bloc Australia Group

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the australian group

Mains level: Important for India’s entry into the NSG.


News

India joins the Australian Group

  1. India has admitted as the 43rd member of the Australia Group
  2. The group is an informal bloc of countries that keeps a tight control over exports of substances used in the making of chemical weapons

Why is it important?

  1. With its admission into the Australia Group, India is now part of three of the four key export control groups in the world
  2. This includes the Missile Technology Control Regimethe Wassenaar Arrangement
  3. The only export control group that India is not a part of is the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

Back2basics

The Australian Group

  1. The Australia Group is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) and an informal group of countries (now joined by the European Commission) established in 1985 (after the use of chemical weapons by Iraq in 1984) to help member countries to identify those exports which need to be controlled so as not to contribute to the spread of chemical and biological weapons
  2. The group, initially consisting of 15 members, held its first meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in September 1989. With the incorporation of India on January 19, 2018, it now has 43 members, including Australia, the European Commission, all 28 member states of the European Union, Ukraine, and Argentina
  3. The name comes from Australia’s initiative to create the group. Australia manages the secretariat
  4. The initial members of the group had different assessments of which chemical precursors should be subject to export control
  5. Later adherents initially had no such controls
  6. Today, members of the group maintain export controls on a uniform list of 54 compounds, including several that are not prohibited for export under the Chemical Weapons Convention, but can be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons
  7. In 2002, the group took two important steps to strengthen export control
  8. The first was the “no-undercut” requirement, which stated that any member of the group considering making an export to another state that had already been denied an export by any other member of the group must first consult with that member state before approving the export
  9. The second was the “catch-all” provision, which requires member states to halt all exports that could be used by importers in chemical or biological weapons programs, regardless of whether the export is on the group’s control lists
  10. Delegations representing the members meet every year in Paris, France

[op-ed snap] In an elite club: On India’s Wassenaar entry

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group

Mains level: India’s nuclear program, NSG bid and way forward


Context

India’s admittance into the Wassenaar Arrangement

  1. This is a big step forward in India’s quest for formal acceptance as a responsible nuclear power
  2. As a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), New Delhi has been at pains to convey to the international community that it adheres to, and is invested in, a rules-based order

About Wassenaar Agreement

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement was founded in 1996
  2. Its stated aim is “to contribute to regional and international security and stability, by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations.”
  3. It is clubbed with mechanisms such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group
  4. It comes on the heels of membership last year of the MTCR

Need for quiet diplomacy in sensitive nuclear issues

  1. India did a botched attempt to gain entry to the NSG last year
  2. While India’s efforts at the NSG were stopped by China, which is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, raising the pitch publicly at the time came with costs
  3. It made the task of forging a consensus on membership to the NSG more difficult

Way forward

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement will embed India deeper in the global non-proliferation architecture and enable access to critical technologies in the defense and space sectors
  2. The Australia Group, which focusses on biological and chemical weapons, may be easier to crack given that China is not a member
  3. As more and more countries are signing on to India’s steadily strengthening credentials in the nuclear area, there is hope that a fresh momentum will be imparted to a future bid for the NSG

Wassenaar Arrangement decides to make India its member

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Wassenaar Arrangement, Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), MTCR, Australia Group

Mains level: Importance of joining NSG and other export control regimes by India


News

India joins Wassenaar agreement

  1. Elite export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) decided to admit India as its new member
  2. This is expected to raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation besides helping it acquire critical technologies

Strong case for NSG membership

  1. India’s entry into the export control regime would enhance its credentials in the field of non-proliferation despite not being a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  2. The WA membership is also expected to build up a strong case for India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
  3. China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the 48-nation NSG is not a member of the Wassenaar Arrangement

About Wassenaar Arrangement

  1. The Wassenaar Arrangement plays a significant role in promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies
  2. Its member countries are required to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals
  3. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists

India’s rise in non proliferation field

  1. In June last year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), another key export control regime, as a full member
  2. Since its civil nuclear deal with the U.S., India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, the MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies

India seeks probe into North Korea nuclear ties

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood- relations.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: North Korea’s Nuclear Test is a hot topic these days. We should know every possible aspect of it, just as in the given newscard which explains Pakistan’s link in the issue.


News

India’s Demand

  1. India has sought a probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages
  2. And demanded that those responsible for it should be held accountable (in a veiled reference to Pakistan)
  3. The remarks came after North Korea had fired another mid-range ballistic missile over Japan
  4. It follows North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test which was in direct defiance of the United Nations sanctions

Background

  1. Though there was no direct reference to Pakistan in Foreign Ministry remarks
  2. It came amid reports that Pyongyang had received nuclear enrichment technology from Pakistan when AQ Khan was at the helm of Islamabad’s nuclear programme

‘Uranium sale talks at advanced stage’

Image Source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Uranium Reserves around the world

Mains level: Uranium export from Australia, is very crucial for India’s rising energy needs


News

Uranium sale to India

  1. According to the Australian government, discussions are at a ‘well-advanced’ stage for Australia’s uranium sale to India, to fuel nuclear power plants
  2. Of the world’s proven estimated uranium reserves (5,404,000 tonnes), 31% are held in Australia (1,673,000 tonnes)

Dismissing the allegations

  1. Australian government has also dismissed the allegations that uranium supply was facing ‘delays’ due to the Australian coal mining sector ‘lobbying’ to protect its interests

[op-ed snap] No First Use Policy- its advantages

  1. Context: Since 1998, a key pillar of India’s nuclear policy has been a pledge not to use nuclear weapons first
  2. Why India opts for NFU? India’s non-nuclear military forces are superior to Pakistan’s
  3. Very low risk of a major ground war with China given Indian defensive stopping power of the Himalayas
  4. No plausible scenarios for which the first use of nuclear weapons might be useful
  5. India’s nuclear forces are strictly to deter a WMD attack, and can be oriented entirely for retaliation
  6. Advantages of NFU: stable scenario because enemies do not have to fear that India will initiate nuclear use, which might tempt them to use nuclear weapons early and massively against India
  7. Ambiguity in nuclear doctrine is not necessarily a bad thing — it can enhance deterrence
  8. Parrikar’s remarks, however, did not introduce ambiguity into Indian nuclear doctrine. Instead, they injected confusion
  9. Confusion arises when statements by various govt officials, contradict stated government policy, this leads other countries to believe in the worst case scenario
  10. Hence, PM Modi must publicly reaffirm India’s NFU pledge

UN court rejects disarmament case against India

  1. The International Court of Justice rejected nuclear disarmament cases filed by the Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands against Britain, India and Pakistan
  2. Ruling (why rejected Marshall’s claim?): The Marshall Islands has failed to prove that a legal dispute over disarmament existed between it and the three nuclear powers before the case was filed in 2014, and consequently the court lacks jurisdiction

India will never sign NPT, says Sushma Swaraj

  1. News: Govt told the Lok Sabha that it will never sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but will maintain commitment to the NPT
  2. This counts as a significant continuation of national policy on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  3. Context: It was in response to a question if India had a clear policy about how to join the NSG without becoming a member of the NPT?
  4. How to get NSG entry? The world knows our commitment to the NPT and it was because of this that we got the waiver and it was on this basis that we will get NSG membership
  5. Background: India got waiver at the NSG in 2008 without becoming member of the NPT

Pacific Ocean radiation nears pre-Fukushima level

  1. News: Radiation levels across the Pacific Ocean are rapidly returning to normal after 5 years, a study showed
  2. Background: An earthquake-generated tsunami in 2011 in Japan had triggered dumping of nuclear material into the world’s oceans, from Fukushima nuclear power plant
  3. Study also showed that radioactive material has been carried across the ocean as far as the shores of US
  4. The research examined radioactive caesium levels measured off Japan’s coast across the Pacific to North America
  5. Caesium is a by-product of nuclear power and is highly soluble in water, making it ideal for measuring the release of radioactive material into the ocean

Nuclear plants insured

  1. News: India’s first insurance policy covering public liability to an atomic power plant operator has been issued to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)
  2. The insurance policy was issued by the country’s largest non-life insurer New India Assurance Company Ltd
  3. The total was around Rs 100 crore for a risk cover of Rs 1,500 crore
  4. Background: The Central government had announced the setting up of the Rs 1,500-crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool to be managed by national reinsurer GIC Re

India enters MTCR

  1. News: India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), in a bid to boost its non-proliferation credentials
  2. MTCR: Places restrictions of proliferation of rockets and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that can carry a payload of 500kgs and a range of 300kms
  3. China, who had blocked India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), is not a member of MTCR
  4. Benefits: Will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its JVs with Russia
  5. Background: Italy, a member of MTCR, had previously blocked India’s application over the issue of detaining its marines
  6. After resolving the issue with Italy and after joining the Hague Code of Conduct, India was poised to be an MTCR member soon

What is Pelindaba Treaty?

  1. Pelindaba Treaty (Also known as the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty or ANWFZT) controls uranium supply from key mineral hubs in Africa
  2. As India is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the member states of Pelindbaba treaty (ANWFZT) are not allowed to supply uranium to India
  3. Named after South Africa’s main nuclear research centre, a location where South Africa’s nuclear bombs of 1970s were developed and stored

Namibia assures uranium supply to India

  1. News: Namibia assured that it will look into legal ways through which its uranium can be supplied to India for civil nuclear power projects
  2. Context: As India is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Namibia, one of the member states of Pelindbaba treaty, is not allowed to supply uranium to India
  3. Namibia and India also shared similar views about the need for reforms in the United Nations

India clears final hurdle to join missile control group

  1. The members of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) have agreed to admit India
  2. A deadline for members of the group to object to India’s admission had expired on Monday without any of them raising objections
  3. Under the ‘silent procedure‘, India’s admission follows automatically
  4. Next stage: Each of the 34 member countries need to send a diplomatic note stating formally that they accept India’s membership
  5. This could take weeks or even months, given the internal processes of each country
  6. India will also soon receive membership documents which it must ratify and return

Swiss back India’s bid for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership

  1. Context: India has been pushing for membership of the NSG for last few years and has formally moved its application
  2. Switzerland promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG
  3. The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its membership will help India expand its atomic energy sector

Let’s know more about the Hague Code of conduct

  1. The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCoC) was established on 25 November 2002
  2. It is a voluntary legally non-binding multilateral body
  3. Aim: Preventing the spread of ballistic missiles that can deliver weapons of mass destruction
  4. It is the only normative instrument to verify the spread of ballistic missiles
  5. It does not ban ballistic missiles, but it does call for restraint in their production, testing, and export
  6. Its membership stands at 138 (including India)
  7. While the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has a similar mission, it is an export group with only 34 members

India joins The Hague Code of Conduct

  1. India’s joining HCoC strengthened the worldwide attempt to contain the spread of ballistic missiles
  2. It signals our readiness to further strengthen the global non-proliferation regimes
  3. HCoC has been focused on West Asia, South Asia and the East Asia due to the rising missile and nuclear arms race among rival powers
  4. In the latest meeting of the HCoC, a special mention was made of the increased number of missile launches by North Korea in 2015
  5. India is on track for membership in other technology regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime

China signs deals with Sudan to build nuclear reactor

  1. China has signed agreements with Sudan (its close ally in Africa) to build 600-megawatt atomic reactor, the first such project in the African country
  2. The agreements may involve a blueprint for nuclear power development in the next decade for Sudan and building the first nuclear power station in the country

Key nuclear security initiatives

  1. Context: Modi announced key nuclear security initiatives by India during Nuclear Security Summit
  2. Initiatives: Counter nuclear smuggling and strengthen the national detection architecture for nuclear and radioactive material
  3. A dedicated counter-nuclear smuggling team has been set up.
  4. High national priority to nuclear security through strong institutional framework, independent regulatory agency and trained and specialized manpower
  5. Support IAEA’s role in nuclear security by a further contribution of $1 million to the nuclear security fund

Kerry hails India’s role in securing its nuclear material

  1. Context: The 4th Nuclear Security Summit at US
  2. News: India has a very important role to play in securing nuclear weapons and nuclear materials
  3. It has shown responsible stewardship of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials
  4. India is deeply interested in seeing and ensuring that the safety and security of the radioactive material must be ensured
  5. Challenge: The battlefield deployments make nuclear weapons vulnerable to theft and sabotage

Nuclear security must remain abiding national priority: Modi

  1. Context: Modi during a White House dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama that formally kicked off the two-day Nuclear Security Summit
  2. What? Nuclear security must remain an abiding national priority
  3. All States must completely abide by their international obligations
  4. Brussels attacks show how real and immediate the threat is to nuclear security from terrorism

Modi in US to attend nuclear security summit

  1. Context: The fourth and last Nuclear Security Summit hosted by Obama
  2. News: Mr. Modi is expected to lay out his vision of securing nuclear weapons
  3. He would underline some of the important measures India has taken to strengthen nuclear security
  4. Agenda: To strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, especially to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material
  5. To deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism

India may focus on best practices at Nuclear Security Summit

  1. Context: To highlight the “Best Practices” in the international nuclear industry and its national nuclear safety record in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) held in March
  2. Importance: This is the last time U.S. President Obama will host the participating countries and the first time PM Modi will take part
  3. Indo-Pak Relevance: Summit may form the backdrop for a meeting between Modi and Sharif , that may thaw freeze that crept into India-Pakistan ties
  4. Background: India has been a part of the summit since it convened in 2010, but came into focus due to a critical campaign by Centre for Public Integrity, a Washington DC-based NGO
  5. Scientists Opinion: Summit provided opportunity for India to stay ahead in the field of security and safety in the nuclear industry
  6. Way ahead: India will highlight its safety and non-proliferation records in the summit

Marshall Islands sue Britain, India and Pakistan over nuclear weapons

Archipelago where infamous Bikini Atoll test took place tells international court that nuclear powers have not lived up to disarmament obligations.

MarshallIslands


  1. It sought to persuade the UN’s highest court to take up a lawsuit, accusing the countries of failing to halt the nuclear arms race.
  2. The International Court of Justice has announced dates for separate hearings for the three cases between March 7 and March 16.
  3. In the cases brought against India and Pakistan, the court will examine whether the tribunal based in Hague is competent enough to hear the lawsuits.
  4. The hearing involving Britain will be devoted to ‘preliminary objections’ raised by London.
  5. A decision will be made at a later date as to whether the cases can proceed.

India pushes harder for NSG membership

  1. India is fast-pacing its pitch for membership to the 48-member nuclear club.
  2. The 48-member NSG works by consensus, and not majority, so India is reaching out to every possible country.
  3. Govt. is focusing on membership of NSG, as well as other major groupings: Missile Technology Control Regime, Australian and Wassenaar Arrangement.

Modi may attend US nuclear security summit next year

  1. PM is likely to travel to the US for the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in next year, an initiative of President Barack Obama.
  2. This is an international effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material, break up black markets, and detect and intercept illicitly trafficked material.
  3. These risks were mostly associated with the republics that once formed the Soviet Union and were left with a lot of nuclear material.
  4. Now, Pakistan has emerged as a core concern with the increasing risk of jihadi groups accessing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

No decision on India’s inclusion as MTCR concludes meeting

It was established in April 1987 by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, and the United States.

  1. India has an application under submission since June 2015 to be a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).
  2. MTCR is voluntary partnership between 34 countries to prevent the proliferation of missile and unmanned aerial vehicle technology.
  3. MTCR was supplemented by the International Code of Conduct in 2002, against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC), also known as the Hague Code of Conduct.

What a US-Pakistan nuclear deal might mean for India

Although the deal has been termed a potential “diplomatic blockbuster”, its inherent contradictions may make it difficult to sell in both the US and Pakistan.

pakistan, US, Pakistan US nuclear deal, Pakistan US civil nuclear deal, Washington, Islamabad, india US nuclear deal, india news


 

  1. As the idea of a nuclear deal between the United States and Pakistan gains some traction in Washington, Delhi is unlikely to lose much sleep.
  2. The hope for a nuclear deal between America and Pakistan was born the very moment US-India unveiled the historic civil nuclear initiative in July 2005.
  3. Pakistan simultaneously opposed the US deal with India and demanded one for itself on the same terms that Washington had offered Delhi.
  4. The Bush Administration refused to entertain any proposal for a nuclear accommodation with Pakistan.
  5. It insisted that the deal with Delhi was an exception that couldn’t be replicated with Islamabad.
  6. The US is ready to lift international restrictions against civilian nuclear commerce with Pakistan in return for significant voluntary restraints on its nuclear weapons programme.
  7. The terms of the deal with Pakistan are somewhat different from those that India had won from Washington in 2005.
  8. This will make it a hard political sell in Pakistan, which has always insisted on ‘nuclear parity’ with India.
  9. The quest for nuclear parity has only been one important theme of Pakistan’s atomic diplomacy.

Overall completes the vicious circle that has long complicated the triangular relationship between India, Pakistan and the US.

Nuclear energy not viable, says German economist

  1. German green economist Ralf Fücks feels India should focus on solar energy, which is becoming cheaper by the day.
  2. India will do better to invest in solar and in wind power than in nuclear energy.
  3. Nuclear energy is economically unsustainable and needed govt. subsidies to survive.
  4. If something goes wrong then it can be catastrophic like Chernobyl and Fukushima.
  5. There was a very thin wall between civil and military nuclear applications.

India has to homogenise liability law, says GE chief

  1. There is an extremely standard liability law that the rest of the world has adopted.
  2. The language has to be just homogenised between India and the rest of the world.
  3. The subsidies in the electricity sector should be lowered so that prices were more market-determined.
  4. GE is interested in commercial and military aviation, renewable energy as well as oil and gas and also saw a big opportunity in Make in India.

N-pact a done deal, says Indian envoy

In 2 summits with the U.S. in 4 months, Indian government addressed lingering differences with the U.S. on nuclear liability, injected new energy into defence and economic cooperation, and explored pragmatic ways forward on IPR issues and climate change.

Questions (attempt in the comments section)

1

India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) will open the gateways for India’s membership in other nuclear regimes as well. Critically examine.

2

“India seeking membership of the NSG is like Russia seeking membership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.” Comment on the statement and critically examine what India gains or doesn’t gain by NSG membership.

3

Do you think India is an ‘outlier’ to the non-proliferation regime? Critically comment on India’s non-proliferation record and examine how it can effectively use diplomacy to gain NSG membership.

4

Why does India consider it is important to get the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime), Australian and Wassenaar Arrangements? Examine.

5

What is Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)? Why does India want to become its member? Examine.







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