News / Asia

    Nuclear States Divided on India Joining Export Control Group

    FILE - Police patrol on a beach near Kudankulam nuclear power plant project in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, September 12, 2012.FILE - Police patrol on a beach near Kudankulam nuclear power plant project in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, September 12, 2012.
    x
    FILE - Police patrol on a beach near Kudankulam nuclear power plant project in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, September 12, 2012.
    FILE - Police patrol on a beach near Kudankulam nuclear power plant project in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, September 12, 2012.
    Reuters
    The United States and three other big powers this week argued for allowing nuclear-armed India into an atomic export control group, but China and several European states appeared doubtful about the move, diplomats said on Wednesday.

    They said the divisions were in evidence during closed-door talks of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group on the sensitive issue of whether India could join and become the NSG's only member that is outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    The United States, France, Britain and Russia were among those which backed membership for India - Asia's third-largest economy - while smaller European states such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland had reservations, the envoys said.

    China stressed the need for equal treatment in South Asia, an apparent reference to its ally Pakistan, which also is outside the NPT and also has tested atomic bombs, they said. One diplomat said Japan also appeared lukewarm on the idea.

    The tone of Monday's informal debate in Vienna suggested that the controversial issue will not be ready for a decision at the NSG's next annual plenary session, to be held in the Czech capital of Prague in June. NSG decisions are made by consensus.

    "There are several countries in each camp. I'm not sure how it can be moved forward," another envoy said.

    But a different diplomat said that while "a number of countries have continued doubts," they did not categorically rule out that India, which has yet to apply, could eventually become a member.

    The NSG - which includes the United States, Russia, China, European Union countries and some others - is a cartel that tries to ensure that civilian nuclear exports are not diverted for military purposes.

    In 2010, Washington announced backing for India joining.

    But Pakistan - which has been trying to move closer to Asian powerhouse China as Islamabad's ties with Washington have suffered - has warned against allowing its rival into the NSG.

    India and Pakistan - which have fought three wars - have both refused to sign the 189-nation NPT, which would oblige them to scrap nuclear weapons.

    Close relations between China and Pakistan reflect a longstanding shared wariness of their common neighbor, India, and a desire to counter U.S. influence across the region.

    Nuclear 'prestige'

    Those in favor of India joining say it is better if the country is inside than outside the NSG, as it already is an advanced nuclear energy power and will in the future become a significant exporter as well, one of the diplomats who attended the discussions said.

    Those which are skeptical argue it could undermine the NPT, which is a cornerstone of global nuclear disarmament efforts.

    "There are differences of opinion on allowing non-NPT members into the NSG," said another diplomat.

    Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment think-tank said some "worried that India will use its voice to reverse the NSG's gears and loosen export controls, since India has not demonstrated a firm historical commitment" to its mission.

    To receive civilian nuclear exports, nations that are not one of the five officially recognized atomic weapons states usually must place their nuclear activities under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, NSG rules say.

    When the United States sealed a nuclear supply deal with India in 2008 that China and others found questionable because Delhi is outside the NPT, Washington won an NSG waiver from that rule after contentious negotiations.

    The landmark civilian nuclear cooperation agreement ended India's atomic isolation following its 1974 nuclear test and could mean billions of dollars in business for U.S. firms.

    India gained access to technology and fuel while it was allowed to continue its nuclear weapons program.

    Pakistan wants a similar civilian nuclear agreement with the United States to help meet its growing energy needs.

    Washington is reluctant, however, largely because a Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted in 2004 to transferring nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

    Nuclear expert Daryl Kimball said India wanted to join the NSG because of prestige but that this would undercut the group's ability to ensure that New Delhi respects the non-proliferation commitments it made to win support for the 2008 exemption.

    "Those commitments included no further nuclear weapons testing, compliance with site-specific safeguards, and support for a fissile material production moratorium," said Kimball, of the Washington-based Arms Control Association.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora