By Dr. Abdul Ruff
The elaborate shuttle diplomacy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the India’s membership on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) has ended fruitlessly as the forum has decided not to consider the application of countries that are not the signatories of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
On the eve of NSG’s plenary in Seoul, China said on June 22 that India’s entry into the bloc was not on the agenda as New Delhi was not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “The meeting is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the NPT,” the foreign ministry said, “As for the entry of non-NPT countries, the group has never put that on its agenda. Perhaps, India was complaining that its application for NSG has been blocked.
The NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) has never put the entry application of non-NPT countries on its agenda. So it makes no sense to say that discussions are blocked,” a ministry statement added. Obviously, those countries that declined to sign the NPT may have hidden agendas regarding the proliferation of the nuclear material and without signing the NPT their eagerness to serve the nuclear communities is not trustworthy.
China opposes Indian’s entry into the 48-nation NSG saying it is not a signatory to the NPT. The NSG, which regulate global nuclear commerce, works on the principle of consensus and it generally lets in a new member only if all existing members agree. The Chinese statement came as Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar flew to Seoul on instruction from PM Modi who made strenuous efforts internationally to obtain NSG entry. Modi met US president Obama at White House, among other leaders, to pursue the NSG case.
Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar had earlier made a quiet visit to Beijing, apparently to seek support for New Delhi’s membership. China announced the decision even while Indian Prime Minister Modi is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at Tashkent during a two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) to discuss issues, including the NSG case.
Noting that the upcoming Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Plenary Meeting on June 23 in Seoul is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China said that it hopes to further discuss the issue and added that it will play a constructive role in the discussions. “Deliberation on the entry of specific countries is on the agenda of the Seoul Plenary Meeting. However, it is worth noting that the meeting is only to deliberate on the entry application of countries that are state parties to the NPT,” the office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
China, till now, has been playing the role of a dampener on the issue of clearing the way for India’s admission to the NSG by repeatedly stating that it is not on the agenda of the grouping, which began its plenary session in Seoul. Earlier, even as Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar was visiting Beijing to pursue the NSG case, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj insisted that China is not blocking India’s entry to the NSG, but is talking about the criteria and procedures.
With India leaving no stone unturned to ensure its entry into the group, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Uzbekistan capital Tashkent on June 23 in an attempt to somehow win Beijing’s support for India’s membership.
The diplomacy of Modi, Jaishankar and Sushma has limitations as the Indian application for NSG entry for controlling nuclear proliferation moves is not valid. Highly placed sources inform that the meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping could be, as desired by PM Modi, an exclusive one-on-one discussion, where the top agenda would be to seek China’s support for India’s membership in the NSG. On the other hand, the United States has called on the participating governments of the NSG to support India’s application for membership. The plenary discussion on the matter will be held in Seoul and the final meeting in which India and Pakistan’s fate in the NSG would be decided will take place on June 23.
India’s efforts have ended for now without success but India would continue its efforts to somehow push through its agenda. India knows USA cannot help India but PM Modi made the issue to come closer to President Obama to get media coverage for his BJP and Hindutva agenda. India should not have wasted resources on self-promotion and falsehoods.
As of October 2013, 189 recognized states are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Montenegro is the most recent signatory from June 2006. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970. On 11 May 1995, the Treaty was extended indefinitely. More countries have adhered to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the Treaty’s significance. A total of 191 states have joined the Treaty, though North Korea, which acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance, announced its withdrawal in 2003. Four UN member states have never joined the NPT: India, Israel, Pakistan and South Sudan.
The treaty recognizes only five UN veto states as nuclear-weapon states: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. Five other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel which has not informed the UN or IAEA about its nuclear position – because of US backing for secret Israeli nuclear program – has had a nasty policy of opacity regarding its nuclear weapons program. Israel does not even mention about its nukes numbering 60-80 WMD.
It is argued that the non-signatories of NPT cannot be taken seriously or trusted for their genuine interest in and concern for nuclear disarmament which looks illusory as nuclear powers refuse to dismantle their own arsenals and more countries wanting to go nuclear.