Dr Muhammad Khan
In one of his recent article, entitled; ‘Beijing could support India’s NSG accession path if it plays by rules’ Fu Xiaoqiang, a research fellow of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) said, “Becoming a member of the NSG, a bloc that governs civilian nuclear trade worldwide, will grant India global acceptance as a legitimate nuclear power.” Granting exclusive membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group to India would mean violating the NPT once again. It is worth mentioning that, NSG was formed in 1974, sequel to Indian nuclear test, the Smiling Buddha (Pokhran-I). It was the first nuclear weapon test by any state, outside the declared five nuclear states and violation of NPT. United States put the stipulation, which permit only the NPT signatories to this elite club of the NPT. Now same country (US) is manipulating Indian entry into the NSG.
India has been trying to become the member of this elite club for years now. During his recent visit of Washington, Prime Minister Narindra Modi was able to get the blessing of US over its membership of NSG. However, despite John Kerry’s special letter to all NSG members, asking to favour India for its entry into this group; it seems less likely that, India gets the membership of NSG. In the recent statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying China reminded US about its earlier commitment of non-NPT states’ membership of NSG. Besides, Chinese spokesperson also said that, Beijing never targeted any particular country nor asked for the ban on anyone state; India or Pakistan, but surely merit base and to follow the set rules, the group has designed for itself. Should India follow that, it could have been granted the membership of this club.
After US backing and before the commencement of the Seoul Moot of the NSG this week, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar made a two days’ trip of the Beijing for gaining the Chinese consent for its membership on June 16-17. Besides, the Indian External Affairs Minister, Ms Swaraj also tried to impress upon China and Pakistan through her press conference at New Delhi. She even said that, India is not against the membership of Pakistan in NSG and India would like to resume the bilateral talks with Pakistan.
In order to garner Chinese support, Indian Premier is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on June 23, 2016, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting at Tashkent. Modi will also try to impress upon Chinese President as it did elsewhere in the world. However, Chinese stance would likely to remain unchanged. Chinese Foreign Ministry has already ruled out the possibility of exclusive entry of any particular state while by passing the existing rules of the NSG. It was also announced from Beijing that, Indian membership of NGS is not even on the agenda of the NSG being held in Seoul on June 24, 2016.
Not China only, but overall the forty-eight members of NSG are divided over the entry of any country into this club, without making amendments in the existing rules of Group. There is a room and the door is open for membership, however, this need to build a consensus without any discrimination or favour to any particular state. On its part, Washington has reiterated that, despite Chinese refusal to support India for the membership of NSG, US will continue its backing of the New Delhi’s application for the NSG membership. In a way, US follow double standard at global level on some of very serious issues like nuclear weapons.
Earlier it has paved the way for Indo-US Nuclear Deal-2008, while violating the NPT and even its own Constitution. Now, U.S still wants to go ahead with Indian entry into NSG in violation of the NSG rules. Indeed, this will, “shake the strategic balance in South Asia and even cast a cloud over peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region.” There is no doubt that, Indian membership of the NSG will bring an end to the strategic balance in South Asia, but, its NSG membership will also “jeopardize” China’s national interest. After all US is supporting India strategically so that it can stand high against China and contain it too alongside Japan in the Asia-Pacific. As per Chinese media, “Against the backdrop of Washington’s accelerated pace of promoting its pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, it will be highly likely to keep supporting New Delhi’s nuclear ambitions, in order to make it a stronger power to contain China.” This indeed, is a strategic convergence between US and India and to attain that, US would like to bypass the international norms and rules, which were formulated by her along with other stakeholders. Indian entry will be very serious for Pakistan, touching “raw nerve” and equally dangerous for China. As per Global Times, “If it joins the group, New Delhi will be able to import civilian nuclear technology and fuels from the international market more conveniently, while saving its domestic nuclear materials for military use.” Not for the sake of Pakistan, but for its own sake and for maintaining regional peace in Asia in particular and global peace at large China and other member states of NSG have to resist the Indian entry in to this club. Indeed, under the agenda of RSS, the Hindu fundamentalist group, India is pursuing an agenda of regional domination and becoming major world power.
The worst designs, India is pursuing to shrink the space for the minorities in India, which constitute bulk of Indian population. Muslims alone constitute over 15% of Indian population. Besides, India has adopted a policy of rivalries with all its neighbouring states, not accepting the Indian domination. Strategically, India has started encircling Pakistan and containing China. With NSG membership and strategic partnership with US, India will get further leverage to exploit its neighbours and pave the way for its major power status. Should the international community allow such concessions to a Hindu extremist country, which under RSS Hindutva ideology is all set to convert India as ethnic Hindu State, away from international norms of secularism? Therefore, let there be no exclusive entry of any country into elite club of NSG.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.