3:33pm, 27th June, 2016



Will it be wrong to say that India was humiliated by China and others at the NSG meet? I don’t think so. Whatever you think about Indian diplomacy, it is tumbling down from the image and integrity that India stood for over the years.

The great fiasco at NSG meet in Seoul was an unnecessary goof up by Indian diplomacy trying to gain something that we don’t need at all. When there are more important matters at hand like a permanent membership in Security Council, why are we wasting time, efforts and political capital for a second tier membership in a group? Add to this the fact that we have everything that we can gain from NSG already, and one has to agree that India made a fool out of itself in Seoul.

Let me explain, step by step.

What is NSG?

Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of 48 nations who controls the export of materials and technology required for nuclear weaponry. Interestingly, and ironically, NSG was founded after India’s secret nuclear tests in 1974, which had raised concern and angered global leaders. One of the basic requirements to join NSG is that the country should sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. India has not signed this treaty.

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Why has India not signed NPT?

NPT recognises only five nations as Nuclear weapon states. These are US, Russia, UK, France and China. NPT prevents other countries from having nuclear weapon technologies. This was not cool with India, at the time of NPT, as it felt insecure without nuclear weapons in a tensed neighbourhood. Also, it cannot sign it now, since India will have to give up its entire nuclear armoury. India has an estimated 90-100 nuclear war heads, currently. India also has enough plutonium to make 1000 nuclear weapons. So giving up all this is not easy as LPG.

2.Photo Shanker Chakravarty

Image source : (Photo Shanker Chakravarty)

Why India doesn’t need to join NSG?

India wanted to join NSG in hopes of getting nuclear technology to boost up civilian energy resources. Nuclear energy will reduce India’s dependence on coal and give a great boost to Indian economy. However, the India- US Civil Nuclear Agreement signed during the UPA regime, allows this by India agreeing to separate Civil and Military nuclear facilities. This already allows India to import the nuclear materials needed for energy projects from willing exporters. And since, India cannot afford signing the NPT; India cannot trade weapons with any NSG country even if it joins it.


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Basically, we were bargaining for something that we already have. And we failed in that bargain!

Why is it a diplomatic failure?

India has a lot of other issues that need to be tackled. There are other worthy achievements to be pursued. A permanent membership in UN Security Council is one of those objectives. PM Modi has been visiting country after country and using up political and economic favours to get into something that we don’t need. In fact, if we had tried for the membership in Security Council and failed, even then there would’ve been dignity in that failure. But this tomfoolery at NSG was completely avoidable.

4 photo Mark Garten

Image source : (photo Mark Garten)

How does it affect India’s image?

For decades India has held its own ground when it came to international relations. Right from Nehru, who made the brave choice of not aligning with any superpowers through Non-Alignment movement, India’s foreign policy was a leading light at many times even when UN was powerless. India had the integrity and dignity to not knock the doors of superpowers asking for favours. Now, even after repeated requests, India has been denied on the face. This is humiliating.

I agree change is necessary, and maybe few favours need to be asked. However, India shouldn’t be doing it for banal things as NSG but something bigger and worthwhile. And when they do such things more preparation is necessary. International relations takes years to build up, one cannot just go around asking for investments and membership to organisations and hope to get both.


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Let such fiasco not happen again. Let’s be prepared before we venture into new soils.

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