Nuclear Suppliers Group

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multilateral export control regime and a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment, and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

The NSG Guidelines also contain the so-called “Non-Proliferation Principle,” adopted in 1994, whereby a supplier, notwithstanding other provisions in the NSG Guidelines, authorizes a transfer only when satisfied that the transfer would not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The Non-Proliferation Principle seeks to cover the rare but important cases where adherence to the NPT or to a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty may not by itself be a guarantee that a State will consistently share the objectives of the Treaty or that it will remain in compliance with its Treaty obligations.

This Nuclear Suppliers Group has 48 members participating members.India is not yet a member of this group.

Where it all started?

The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974 and first met in November 1975. The test demonstrated that certain non-weapons specific nuclear technology could be readily turned to weapons development. Nations already signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) saw the need to further limit the export of nuclear equipment, materials or technology. Another benefit was that non-NPT and non-Zangger Committee nations, then specifically France, could be brought in.

This map shows the countries that support India for NSG membership.

Benefits to India if it becomes a member of NSG:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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