China’s role in the NSG Membership

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The end of World War II saw the dawn of new world interconnectivity. The world arena under the United Nations brought many disputes on the table yet the conflicts and bloodshed were inevitable. The Cold War era witnessed the world divided into two blocs. India under the leadership of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took a more pragmatic approach, by taking the route of non-alignment. But, the threat of deadly conflicts and nuclear apprehension loomed around the nation. The India’s first nuclear test in 1974 saw the emergence of India amongst the major nuclear powers. Global observers had mixed reactions, as many in the International community condemned the test, but few welcomed it as an emerging global power. The 1998, Pokhran II, led to several international sanctions, which were later, revoked. The foreign policy of the First Republic (under Nehru) was based upon non-alignment and socialism, the Second Republic (under Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gnadhi) saw the revival of international engagement. But, under thee Narendra Modi’s Government, India is boldly engaging the international community on various outstanding issues following the footsteps of his BJP predecessor Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Relevance of NSG Membership

The economic integration and strategic cooperation have gained momentum, and found a considerable prevalence in the foreign policy of India. The 2014 elections contested by the BJP with the prime focus on development, has provided much significance to India in the international community. Also, Modi’s outreach to both developed and developing nations has been praiseworthy. The sole purpose of engaging the world is to settle several outstanding issues which are in the national interest.  One issue lies upon the India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Before we discuss on the current developments, we need to understand it from phase one.

The NSG was created in 1974 following the explosion of a nuclear device by non-nuclear state that raised many apprehensions regarding the misuse of nuclear materials. The Group with its prime focus on deterring the use of nuclear materials for purposes of destruction, and ensuring the use for peaceful purposes. India had not been a part of it, and major reasons are well-known. But, with the passage of time, India has recognised the relevance of its membership for conducting trade for its economic prosperity. As a non-member state, Indiafaces several deadlocks, and any trade of nuclear material becomes hard to undertake due to several sanctions even for peaceful purposes. Recognising these potholes, India has been pitching hard for its entry, but several impediments are jeopardising India’s chance. The NSG in 2008 granted waiver to India considering the past performance of observing the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and complying with the international safeguards set by the IAEA. But, being a non-signatory to the NPT hinders the opportunity of becoming a full-time member. But, the latest developments have highlighted many other aspects that are dependent more on International diplomacy than rules and regulations.

China’s Blockade

China is now the fastest growing economy, standing second in terms of GDP, soon expected to supersede the United States of America. The Sino-Indian relationship has been inconsistent on various junctures. EitherChina’s blockade of naming Azhar Masood in the 1267 Sanctions Committee or several border incursions, or its closing proximity to Pakistan by aiding them with financial help or military assistance, has been a matter of concern for India. The earlier dispensation in Delhi has complained more often of China’s rise, but Narendra Modi has taken a more pragmatic approach by focussing upon closer engagements, and reachingout the powerful to further economic and strategic cooperation. The outstanding issues are unsettled, but closer ties would enable better talks. PM Modi’s hospitality to the Chinese President on the river banks of Sabarmati opened new gates. China has been one of the largest trading partners of India, and with the vision of economic prosperity, closer economic integration becomes the need of the hour. But, Delhi must be cautious of China’s foreign policy and diplomacy that may not serve in India’s best interest.

The world diplomacy depends upon many aspects. India’s regular protest against Pakistan’s membership to NSG due to its internal instability and conflicts apprehending India, for its nuclear use for Anti-India activity, welcomed China’s opposition to India’s membership for being a non-signatory to the NPT. The guiding principles entirely misinterpreted, have marred India’s chances in the Seoul meet.  Though, the Indian diplomacy managed to convince several global powers, but failed to bring China in agreement. But such reasons are seemed to be more flawed and unreasonable. The country with deeper integration with Pakistan, and many Chinese initiatives such as the Silk Road, development of Gwadar Port, has a major Pakistani role in its success.  The Foreign diplomacy stands on various pillars. Modi’s charisma and boldness led to the development of closer engagements with China, but reality cannot be undermined. The neighbouring countries pacing fast towards economic and military development, comes to loggerhead due to the rising competition. India’s recent tilt towards the USA, can also be seen as China’s shift of interest towards the western neighbours. Now lies the question, what India must do to end this logjam? Is the NSG membership a matter of prestige?

Not a Matter Prestige

The 2008 clear waiver has many milestone implications. The waiver would diminish the earlier impediments. India is in a better position to engage with the world in the use of nuclear material for peaceful purposes. Then, why the meeting in Seoul became a huge uproar amongst the political class and the media, and why does the decline in membership seen as an embarrassment? The foreign policy of India is often seen with internal developments. With the rising popularity of BJP and Narendra Modi both domestically and internationally, has imbibed a sense of superiority which wants India to be the “vishwaguru”. But, a caution must be placed to the real international diplomacy. Though, India has been welcoming developmental projects by ensuring ease of doing business, but the Chinese side is yet on a far better standing globally. Modi’s diplomatic wisdom has led to the development of closer ties across the globe. Therefore, the Prime Minister must stick to the mantra of focussing upon world engagement to bring India on a better footing. It is not deniable that the NSG membership would have had far-reaching consequences, but failure to get that must not be seen as a matter of embarrassment. India has yet to cover a long path, where it can engage more to the international community, and closer economic ties with China or the dissenting members can help India gain some support. These issues cannot be settled easily, and regular discussions and government to government engagement can resolve it.

The current dispensation has brought a new dawn in the foreign policy under the bold leadership, and this must be exploited in the best possible manner. India has risen from the outmoded policy of socialism and non-alignment, and a broader outlook must enhance deeper ties with the world including China. It is important for India to take a more pragmatic approach with the current developments in the international relations which would only pave the way for its own development. Any restraining move would only hamper India’s growth.

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