New NSG Draft Rule Likely To Allow India’s Membership

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – a 48-member 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 – recently circulated a new draft proposal among its member countries, hinting that it was ready to include India in the elite club.
After going through the draft, experts said that the new proposal could pave the way for the South Asian country to become the 49th member of NSG. However, India will have to wait till the end of the Barack Obama presidency on January 20 as it is still not clear whether the incoming Donald Trump administration would push for India to become a full-fledged NSG member.
Former NSG Chair Rafael Mariano Grossi, who prepared the draft on behalf of the current NSG chair (South Korea), said that he tried to create a formula that would help countries that refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) get NSG membership.
As the two-page draft formula proposes “nine general commitments” to be made by non-NPT countries for receiving the “fullest” atomic trading privileges, Washington-based think-tank Arms Control Association (ACA) has strongly criticised Grossi for “lowering the bar” in his draft proposal. ACA’s Daryl G Kimball stressed that the draft proposal has been prepared only to pave the way for India becoming an NSG member as it has already fulfilled nine criteria out of ten mentioned in the proposal.
As per the draft proposal, NSG will discuss India’s membership on the basis of safeguards agreement it signed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) because the agreement covered all declared civilian facilities in (non-NPT applicant). The proposal says that as the agreement allows the IAEA to detect the diversion of safeguarded nuclear material and to ensure that safeguarded nuclear material is used exclusively for peaceful purposes, there is no harm in accepting India as the new NSG member.
Meanwhile, India has welcomed the new draft proposal, with a senior External Affairs Ministry official saying that New Delhi is waiting for the next NSG meet during which member countries will discuss its membership bid. It will be a great diplomatic success for India to get the NSG membership, as China still wants its southern neighbour not to become a member of the elite club.

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