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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs