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: Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), MTCR, Australia Group
Mains level: Importance of joining NSG and other export control regimes by India
- P5 countries have recently concluded their meetings to discuss issues related to nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
China maintains Status-quo
- China has once again refused to dilute its stand on India’s entry into the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
- It asserted that New Delhi must sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty to gain entry as there is no precedent for the inclusion of non-NPT countries.
- China has been opposing India’s entry into the 48-member NSG on the ground that India is not a signatory to the NPT.
- The other P5 members, including the US and Russia backed its case based on New Delhi’s non-proliferation record.
- China along with P5 has decided to uphold the NPT mechanism.
Pakistan: the elephant in the room
- China has sought to club India and Pakistan together, on the basis of both being non-signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- It has asked the NSG countries to adopt a “criteria-based approach” — which essentially means that either both can get into the group or none.
- But most of the NSG countries, including the US, France and UK, make a clear distinction between India and Pakistan’s nuclear non-proliferation track record.
Why NSG for India?
- The NSG is the top club of countries which controls access to technology and guards against proliferation. Its membership is important for India to access cutting-edge high technology.
- Pakistan has violated all norms of nuclear non-proliferation and had links with the North Korean nuclear programme.
- The P5+1 refers to the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (the P5); namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; plus Germany.
- It is a group of six world powers which, in 2006, joined together in diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program.
- What: India’s hopes of a membership of the NSG this year were virtually dashed after the NSG meeting in Vienna ended inconclusively
- India and the U.S. had been keen to make progress on the application before the end of President Barack Obama’s tenure
- Background: India’s hopes of a membership had been raised after the Seoul meeting in June
- The NSG chair’s had mandated Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi with working on a consensus amongst members on India’s application
- However, the “Grossi process” as it was called faltered after China refused to recognise it
- US Ambassador to India: US will push for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group when the issue is taken up later this year at the highest levels
- Context: The Obama administration will hold its last round of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) with India in August
- Agenda: NSG membership issue will be discussed
- There’s also a hope within the government that the U.S. will take up India’s case at the highest levels, i.e. between President Obama and President Xi, possibly during their upcoming meeting at G-20 next week
- From the past: In 2008, former President George Bush’s phone call to former Chinese President Hu Jintao swung a waiver from the NSG in India’s favour
- News: The country’s first Nuclear Suppliers’ insurance policy is unveiled by India Nuclear Insurance Pool (INIP)
- Agency: New India Assurance Co and INIP will issue the policy and administer the claims on behalf of the pool
- INIP is the 27th global nuclear insurance pool which was launched by General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re), in association with non-life insurance companies
- The pool provides capacity for insurance coverage to operators and suppliers for any nuclear liability towards third party
- The observation comes from Arms Control Association’s latest report
- China is slated to supply as many as 6 reactors to Pakistan’s Chasma nuclear power complex
- Background: China had blocked India’s entry into the NSG citing non-membership of the non-proliferation treaty (NPT)
- News: No decision on India’s application for membership at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was taken, as the session concluded
- At least 32 out of 48 countries had made positive interventions on India’s behalf
- However, NSG’s decisions are governed by consensus (100% votes) and not by majority
- Context: India has been trying to get an NSG membership to ease access to nuclear supplies
- However, India has traditionally opposed Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) stating that it is discriminatory
- Opposition: According to China, only those countries should be granted membership, who are signatory to NPT
- Others who raised a similar opposition were Austria, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland
- Some nations like Brazil and Turkey called for a ‘criteria-based‘ process to be put in place first
- News: China wants India’s application to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) entry to be separate from the bilateral ties
- According to China, a decision would be made through thorough discussion within the NSG group
- Meeting between Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping ended without a statement of support from China
- Background: China is opposing India’s entry into NSG as India has not signed Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
- China: Although parties are not yet completely clear on the issue of entry of non-NPT countries in NSG, discussions help them better understand each other
- China hopes to further discuss this issue and will play a constructive role in the discussions
- India: There have been several such rounds, not just three since 2011
- Also, China’s remarks indicate a shift from its previous stand ruling out any discussions on the subject until a criteria-based process was put into place to allow all non-NPT members in, including Pakistan
- However, an unofficial discussion is not enough and India is seeking immediate membership to the NSG, not long-drawn discussions
- India needs Russia’s help as it is moving as a mediator between India and China
- Though Russia is supportive to India but it will also use its influence with countries like Kazakhstan and Turkey
- Concern: At the meeting of India, Russia and China in April, the three countries hammered out an acceptable formulation on the contentious South China Sea
- But India omitted the explicit reference to the South China Sea in the joint statement with the U.S. last week as well
- Context: PM will meet Russian president for its support to India in NSG
- Reason: China has maintained a division of nations within the group who agree China’s stance
- Occasion: PM will meet Chinese and Russian President in SCO meeting later in this month
- Shanghai Cooperation Agreement(SCO): A six-member Central Asian grouping seen as a counterpoint to the US-European military bloc NATO
- PM Modi will also meet Kazakh’s President as a final attempt to push India’s membership
- Both Mexico and Switzerland also announced support for India’s membership of NSG
- PM Modi is on a trip to these countries & it was aimed at garnering their backing for the NSG
- Why? Both countries have held strong positions on no-proliferation in the past, very much like India
- USA: India has shown strong support for the objectives of the NSG and the global nuclear nonproliferation regime and is a ‘like-minded’ state deserving of NSG admission
- US support is a part of its commitment from the 2008 civilian nuclear deal to help India win access to international nuclear regimes
- Context: China has announced to block India’s membership for NSG
- Membership of NPT is a precondition for any new membership of the NSG
- Criticism: India has traditionally opposed the NPT as a discriminatory instrument and did not sign
- PM will discuss the issue with Switzerland, the U.S. and Mexico which are part of his five-nation trip
- Mexico and Switzerland are known as “non-proliferation hardliners” who constitute a strong group in the NSG
- Nuclear Suppliers Group: Group of countries which controls supply of nuclear material and technology in the world
- Context: US views about India’s membership application to the NSG and opposition to it by Pakistan on the grounds that this would give pace to nuclear arms race in the region
- US: It is not about an arms race, but about peaceful use of nuclear energy & we hope Pak understands that
- NSG membership: NSG is a consensus body & deliberations about the prospects of new members joining the NSG are an internal matter among the current members
- Context: China harped on the need for consensus in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
- China’s stance comes notwithstanding the United States’ strong backing for India to join the NSG
- On the other hand, China is reportedly pushing for Pakistan’s entry into NSG
- China: The NSG has made serious political and technical standards with regard to accepting members
- NPT: One compulsory standard is that the NSG members must be signatory states to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT)