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Daily Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013 National Issues - Topic: "Challenges Ahead For India’s Nuclear Diplomacy"

Daily Special Current Affairs Material for IAS (Pre) 2013

Chapter: National Issues

Topic: Challenges Ahead For India’s Nuclear Diplomacy

Q. What are the new guidelines of NSG regarding ENR equipment and technology and what may be its impact on India?

Ans. The 46-nation NSG adopted new guidelines for the export of sensitive nuclear technology this June — Including enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) equipment and technology — that made the sale of these items conditional on the recipient state fulfilling a number of “objective” and “subjective” conditions.

The first of these conditions, namely NPT membership and full-scope safeguards, were specifically designed to dilute the 2008 waiver India received and were not needed to ban ENR sales to any of the other three countries outside the NPT (Pakistan, Israel and North Korea) since the NSG’s original guidelines — with their catch-all NPT conditionality for the export of any kind of nuclear equipment — continue to apply to them.

Though Washington denies targeting New Delhi and says it has been working to restrict the sale of ENR equipment and technology for many years now.

Some Congressmen of U.S. feared other nuclear suppliers would steal a march on the United States by offering India technologies the U.S. wouldn’t. To allay their concerns, the U.S. administration said it would ensure an NSG-level ban on sensitive nuclear technology exports to India.

At a fundamental level, the logic of this bargain hinged on two components. First, the NSG was making a judgment about India’s status as a responsible country with advanced nuclear capabilities. Second, the NSG and India were acting on the basis of reciprocity.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna finally provided the government’s formal response to the new NSG guidelines in a suo moto statement to Parliament and made the following “clarifications”:

(1) The basis of India’s international civil nuclear cooperation remains the special exemption from the NSG guide lines given o n September 6, 2008 “which contain reciprocal commitments and actions by both sides.”

(2) That exemption accorded “a special status to India” and “was granted knowing full well that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” Pursuant to the “clean” exemption, “NSG members had agreed to transfer all technologies which are consistent with their national law” including technologies connected with the nuclear fuel cycle.

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