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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid