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India's Nuclear Ambition

India's Nuclear Ambition

India's membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will have to wait. A group of nations led by China, blocked the effort. They say, India has not signed the non proliferation treaty (NPT), so giving it NSG membership would undermine global efforts to control nuclear ambitions. But the NSG is divided over this argument.

So what is the whole story and why does it matter?

By the 1960s, only five countries had nuclear weapons and they are USA, Russia, UK, China and France. But with the threat of a nuclear holocaust peace and safety became paramount. By 1968 the nuclear non proliferation treaty was prepared. It envisions a world without nuclear weapons.

Countries that sign NPT fall under two categories. Those who tested their nukes before 1967 are Nuclear Weapons States and others are non nuclear weapons states. This part is crucial to India. India tested its nukes in 1974 in Pokhran. So it would be a non nuclear state. The treaty strictly states only nuclear weapons states can possess nukes, they cannot share these weapons or the technology, they cannot advise or encourage the others to make acquire nuclear weapons.

So even though India has a clean nuclear record and practices most rules laid down for NPT members. Signing the NPT would make it a second class nuclear state and that is where the entry to NSG is stuck. the part of NSG led by China says India has to commit to non proliferation but India considers it a discriminatory treaty.

It's not all downhill, India has managed to enter the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). It has access to high end missile technology. This also improves India's non proliferation credentials. There's another strategic advantage, China is not a member of the MTCR but it has been trying since 2004. India hopes to use this as a bargaining chip. But that does not mean India has enough leverage yet.