- Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
- Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. Currently, it has 48 members.
How exactly India will benefit from being a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group?
- After years of being in the doghouse for going nuclear – with the 1974 Pokhran test – India finally got some relief when the US relented and agreed to a civil nuclear deal with India in 2008. This made India eligible to receive advanced nuclear technologies that could be used to enrich uranium and/or reprocess plutonium. This has helped India a lot. However, such access is restricted to American technologies. Membership to the NSG will essentially increase India’s access to state-of-the-art technology from the other 47 members of the Group, as well.
- Being a member of the NSG will also mean that India will have far greater access to uranium than it does currently under its 2008 agreement with the US. For example, Namibia is the fourth-largest producer of uranium and it agreed to sell the nuclear fuel to India in 2009. However, that hasn’t happened, as Namibia has since cited a 2009 African version of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Pelindaba Treaty, which essentially controls the supply of uranium from Africa to the rest of the world. If India joins the NSG, such reservations from Namibia are expected to melt away.
- NSG membership also means India can begin to commercially produce nuclear power equipment, which it can then even sell to other countries. With access to state-of-the-art nuclear technologies, it can maximize its production benefits.
- Access to technology and being allowed to produce nuclear equipment will give a boost to the Make in India programme announced by PM Modi. That will boost economic growth in India, create more jobs and even lead to a whole new IT-industry segment that India can leverage.
- With India committed to meeting its climate change goals by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, India needs to step up nuclear power production. NSG membership will help India greatly in doing so. In 2008, India did a get a one-time waiver from the NSG that allowed it to buy nuclear power plants from the global market. Still, being out of the elite NSG group has meant that many latest technologies are still out of its reach as it is the NSG members that have the latest and the most efficient technology.
- Last but not least, if India gets NSG membership, it can prevent Pakistan from getting it, very similar to the manner in which China is blocking India from becoming a member.