India’s Emotional Pursuit of NSG
By Anaya Shahid *
When the U.S. granted Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver to India in 2008, China withdrew its concerns under extraordinary pressure from the U.S. and agreed on the exception for India to get the membership. Recently, India’s membership was up for deliberation last year at the NSG’s plenary meeting and China had made its position clear.
China alongside different nations upheld the principled position that if India is allowed to participate without signing the Non-proliferation treaty (NPT), it will set a terrible point of reference in future. The countries that are opposing India’s submission comprised China, Russia, Brazil, Austria, New Zealand, Ireland and Turkey. However, the motivation behind why India has scored a major win in accumulating support for its NSG membership from a few nations is on account of Washington, which has begun to regard New Delhi as a future strategic Partner to contain China.
The U.S., Japan and some other Western nations, which appeared to be in a rush to get India admitted to the cartel, are in a state of perturbation after the nonappearance of an agreement on the issue. The reasons behind the failure of not reaching a consensus within NSG was not just India’s reluctance to sign NPT, but also that it had not satisfied the pledges it made while getting NSG waiver in 2008. India also seems to be non-serious with the progress towards Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and completely failed to separate its civilian and military nuclear programme. Whereas, India has the leading unsafeguarded nuclear with a capacity of producing fissile material 7.7 times more than that of Pakistan.
Indian policy makers and strategic community erred the US' capacity to push through its case without understanding that China would abandon any move in regards to India's inclusion in NSG. Contrary to President Bush, Obama did not make any endeavor to connect with the Chinese to gather support for India's membership. China has turned out to be more decisive contemporarily and is currently contending with the US as a world major financial power. India committed the strategic error of moving an application without quantifying the quality of bolster got from the US, UK, France, Mexico and Russia yet neglected to see the glaring issue at hand – China.
Recently, China repeated its legitimate position on India’s inclusion in NSG. A Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that “Indian bid to join the NSG and the listing issue in 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council were essentially multilateral ones rather than bilateral. China’s stance is based on the rights and wrongs of the case itself.” He said that the Chinese side takes an interest in important discourses in the standard of objectiveness, unprejudiced nature and polished skill. He added that for India’s application for the NSG membership, “We have been saying that the Chinese side sticks to the two-step approach which requires the NSG members to work out a solution applicable to all non-NPT states, and on that basis, to deliberate on specific non-NPT states’ joining.”
It is in the interest of all stakeholders that their region will remain peaceful and balance of power remains intact. Therefore, China's worry about India's incorporation into the NSG is directly related to the security dynamic in South Asia. However, this type of regional approach is absent in the U.S. and Indian intentions for peace and stability. Up until this point, South Asia is yet defying the unforgiving reality that the region is involved in a nuclear confrontation and discriminatory grant of NSG membership will fuel this hostility.
India is trying to portray China bad on NSG front and considering it a normal diplomacy without classifying the audience that the Government of India desires to make this case too. India should consider this failed attempt as an ideal opportunity to quit pointing the finger at China for Obstructing India’s NSG membership. While ignoring realism and strategic rational, India’s hatred against China has proceeded for a long time and gone too far. By concentrating on only one issue in its ties with China i.e. NSG row, India is making a decision on emotions. If India is serious in attaining the membership, it should come up with an unambiguous separation plan and thrive for a solution applicable to all non-NPT states.
* Anaya Shahid graduated from Defense & Diplomatic Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi
The article was first published in Modern Diplomacy on 18 April 2017 at: