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PM Narendra Modi pitches for India's NSG membership

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Recently, PM Modi, during an interactive session pitched for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at Bloomberg Global Business Forum held in New York. The Prime Minister had also raised the issue of India’s NSG membership in August 2019 during a meeting with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

What the PM said?
The Prime Minister as an answer to climate change and India’s energy needs said that India is not a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); it lacks assured fuel supply. India can be a role model for the world if this problem is solved.

On the use of coal, he said a poor country like India, could not ignore the fact that it had the third-largest coal reserves in the world but would need to make mining more environmentally friendly and adopt coal gasification technology.

The PM reiterated what he said at the UN Climate Action Summit on a 450 GW target for solar energy and a water project (Jal Jeevan) which includes river management and rainwater harvesting and restrictions on the use of single-use plastics as well.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
The NSG was created in the wake of India’s 1st nuclear test in 1974 and first met in November 1975. The test by India demonstrated that nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes could be misused.

Nuclear Suppliers Group is a multilateral export control regime consisting of a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by regulating the export of technology, materials, and equipment which can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Initially, it had only seven participating governments but as of 2019, the group has 48 participating governments. The European Commission and the Zangger Committee Chair participate as observers.
PM Narendra Modi pitches for India's NSG membership
Out of 48 members to the NSG five members are officially recognized as Nuclear weapon States- the US, the UK, France, China, and Russia. The other 43 members are signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Benefits of the membership to NSG include trade-in and export nuclear technology, getting timely information on nuclear-related matters and members could also contribute by way of information.

Factors taken into account for participation in NSG include the following:
•Be able to supply items (includes transit items) covered by the Annexes to Parts 1 and 2 of the Guidelines;

•Adhere to and act in accordance with the Guidelines;

•Have in force a legally-based domestic export control system that gives effect to the commitment to act in accordance with the Guidelines;

•Be a party to the NPT, the Treaties of Tlatelolco, Rarotonga, Pelindaba, Bangkok, or Semipalatinsk, or an equivalent international nuclear non-proliferation agreement, and in full compliance with the obligations of such agreement(s), and, as appropriate, have in force a full-scope safeguards agreement with the IAEA;

•Be supportive of international efforts towards the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles.

NSG and India
India is not a signatory to the NPT which it considers discriminatory. While the US and other countries have supported entry of India to the NSG, China has opposed India’s entry with a condition that it should sign the NPT.

India sought membership of the NSG in the year 2008, but its application has not yet been decided on. However, the country has obtained a ‘clean waiver’ from the rules of NSG, in 2008, to carry nuclear trade with all the nuclear exporters. The waiver led to the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal and paved the way for India to engage in nuclear trade.

As of 2016, India has signed civil nuclear agreements with 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

The drive for India’s membership got a boost with the US supporting its membership in the group and pitching a case for country-specific rather than criteria-based approach. The US argument rested on India’s impeccable record towards nuclear non-proliferation.

Importance of NSG membership for India
India will get increased access to state-of-the-art technology from other members of the group which in turn will give a boost to Make in India program of the government.

The membership will also help India towards reaching its commitment for the Paris agreement of ensuring 40% of its energy sourced from renewable and clean sources.

Namibia is the fourth-largest producer of uranium and made an agreement with India to sell nuclear fuel but they have an African Union agreement that impedes its implementation. The NSG membership of India is crucial to the implementation of such agreements.

NSG membership is also expected to boost innovation in India which could become part of the nuclear export market in nuclear power equipment. The membership will bring legitimacy to India’s nuclear program and can sign a nuclear deal with countries for civilian use.


Source: The Hindu, NSG website, and Wikipedia



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