New Delhi. 17 June 2016. Reflecting upon the interest among informed Indians on India’s membership application in the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), noted expert on nuclear technology and Consulting Fellow at the IDSA, Dr G Balachandran said that the NSG membership will have ‘no impact, whether positive or negative, on India’s Civil Nuclear Programme’, given the fact that India has already been granted the waiver in 2008.

Dr Balachandran was speaking at a roundtable discussion on ‘India and NSG Membership’ organised by the Indian Pugwash Society and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) on June 17, 2016.

The NSG membership would be helpful in enabling India to strengthen investment for its nuclear power sector and would also protect it from any future amendment to the waiver, which may not be favourable to India, said Dr Balachandran.

India’s desire to be a member of the NSG comes from its conviction that the NSG is a useful forum to advance global non-proliferation objectives and further that India can contribute positively towards that end by being a NSG member, noted Dr Balachandran. Therefore, while India would certainly welcome the NSG membership, it would not stand to gain anything tangible in its civil nuclear programme, he insisted.

On the other hand, the NSG would certainly gain a valuable member in India in its efforts to contain nuclear proliferation through the regulation of international commerce in equipment, systems, components and technologies controlled by the NSG Guidelines.

Commenting on China’s resistance to India’s membership, he said that China is probably fighting Pakistan’s battle and looks to seek an assurance from India that if it became a member, it would not block Pakistan’s move to become a member in the future.

Reacting to a query about the possible outcome of the plenary meeting of the NSG later this month, Dr Balachandran said that it was possible that the decision on the applications of India and Pakistan are deferred till the inter-plenary meeting later this year, possibly after the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Plenary session, or membership may be offered to India and a decision on Pakistan’s application may be deferred to a later stage.

The plenary meeting of the NSG is expected to be held in Seoul on June 24. The NSG is a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.