NSG didn’t come India’s way – and it was expected.
It is not at all a diplomatic failure. It worked where Narendra Modi has been burning his midnight oil – in strengthening relations with major powers like the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, and so on – and all of them supported India’s bid. In fact, the US vehemently pushed for it.
It was the NSG’s 26th plenary and there will obviously be the 27th one. India’s NSG membership issue has been on the table for quite some time though India formally applied for it on May 12 only – something that set in motion a formal process. And mind you there was no direct no.
The members, in fact, agreed for more discussion on the issue and decided to lay down criteria for inducting the non-NPT members – the sole point of contention behind China’s ‘no to India’ attitude. That, in fact, is a win for India.
The gain that India got could be gauged from the fact that a special session was organized the last night to discuss India’s NSG membership request only even if China had said initially that ‘India’s membership’ was not on the agenda.
In Fact, barring seven countries (some reports say 10) – China, Brazil, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland, Turkey and Switzerland – all other countries in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) supported India’s entry into the grouping that represents major nuclear trading nations of the world.
More or less, this was the same block of the countries which was opposed to any exemption to India in 2008. Like this time, China was the major roadblock even then. And the sceptics were – Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, Norway, and the Netherlands. The NSG used to be a 45-nation bloc then.
The India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Deal or the 123 Agreement signed in July 2008 came after some intense negotiations before the NSG allowed exemptions to India – after a pledge by Pranab Mukherjee that India would not carry anymore nuclear tests. The NSG exemptions allowed countries to do nuclear trading with India – lifting provisions of the NSG and other export control regimes.
It made possible the 2008 India-US deal and paved way for further such agreements. Today, India has bilateral nuclear trading relations with France, the UK, Australia, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan and some other countries. And the list is expected to grow as India is poised to grow – as Indian market needs an ever increasing scale of energy consumption for its growing economy that is slated to be in the world top three. And that means good business for everyone.
Yes, it is some worthwhile food for thought for another line of discussion that how Narendra Modi’s government committed another Image Management hara-kiri by blowing the incident over the top – as if it was the grand finale and India was going to get a grand entry in the NSG – reaffirming again that ‘Narendra Modi’ is the best thing to happen to India.
It was better as ‘India’s NSG push’. The government shouldn’t have allowed it to get ‘India’s NSG bid’ perception.