INDIAN dream to be part of nuclear trading club was shattered when it was not given the membership for Nuclear Suppliers Group few days back. Prime Minister Modi’s diplomatic turns and pleading countries to vote India for NSG membership didn’t work nor the time and again efforts of India to be part of this club seem to work out in future also. The NSG plenary which was held in Seoul, South Korea decided against permitting Indian membership of the group and said it will continue to have discussions on participation of countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In its statement, at the conclusion of the plenary, NSG declared its “firm support” for the “full, complete and effective” implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. However, it said it had discussions on the issue of ‘Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG’ and decided to continue its discussion. A dismayed India accused China that it is a big hurdle in its membership for NSG but said that it will look forward for its support from some countries in future which seems a far cry apparently and will surely not work for India in days to come.
Modi took various diplomatic manoeuvres prior to NSG meeting in order to get favour across the globe. Indian leadership was quite sure that with US support it will win plenary decision in its favour but it turned out to be a failed diplomacy. Surprisingly, India which was boasting on US support for NSG, one of US senator appreciated group decision and said that “Today, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) reaffirmed its strong support for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by refraining from admitting India”.
The NSG was founded in response to India’s 1974 nuclear test and it has worked for decades to prevent the sharing of technology that could contribute to the further spread of nuclear weapons. Edward Markey a US senator who is famous as Indian basher said that “If India joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group, it would be the only participating government in the organisation that was not a party to NPT, weakening the NSG’s commitment to treaty. By refraining from admitting India, the NSG strengthened both the treaty and the broader global non-proliferation regime”. Pushing Pakistan to go nuclear in 1998, India first conduced nuclear tests in 1974 and later detonated nuclear devices in 1998. Thus, compelling Pakistan to become nuclear to maintain strategic stability against its traditional rival. Despite being not given membership a smart move comes from India recently in which it joined an exclusive group of countries controlling exports in missile technology.
This hawkish move by India and fitting together with the MTCR is being seen as the next step for India in legitimising its nuclear energy and missile programmes after it steered atomic tests in 1998 that startled the international community. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is intended at scrutinizing the unchecked proliferation of missiles and their delivery systems. The MTCR restricts the proliferation of missiles, rocket systems, UAVs and the technology for systems capable of carrying a payload of 500kg for at least 300km, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction.
Indian hegemonic designs to be ultimate power in South Asian region by undermining Pakistan and China is known fact. Steering for arms race in region, India thinks that with US backing it will be able to become Asian super power but it is a mere dream which cannot come true. Pakistan has always stood out as an exemplary nation in world community proving itself a peaceful nuclear country. India in these past years failed to ascertain itself a safe nuclear state as there were five cases of nuclear theft reported in India over the past two decades. In 2013 guerrilla militants had stolen Uranium from the Army Complex, but Indian army remained completely unaware of the incident.
In April 2016, an independent US report by the Belfer Centre at the Harvard Kennedy School declared the Indian nuclear program not only unsafe but also called for a reasonable watchdog. 26 Indian scientists mysteriously died over the past several years but their cause of death nor any concern by Indian governments were ever shown. Often, other monitoring agencies and research institutes have also raised questions on Indian nuclear program expansion and its safety and showed serious concerns as India failed to prove itself trustworthy nuclear country in previous years. Pakistan on the other hand maintains strong credentials not only to be granted NSG membership in future, if India does but knows well to maintain strategic stability in South Asia.
— The writer works for Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies, a think tank based in Islamabad.