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India's NSG Bid Raises Nonproliferation Concerns

Yogesh Joshi Thursday, June 16, 2011

After almost two years of intensive lobbying by New Delhi, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) -- the global watchdog of the sensitive nuclear trade -- is finally considering India for membership. The issue has been incorporated as a special agenda item for discussion in the NSG plenary meeting scheduled for late June. The major member states, including the U.S., Germany, France and Britain, have all indicated their support for India's candidacy.

India's quest for NSG membership raises serious questions for the nuclear nonproliferation regime, however. According to criteria set by the NSG, only signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) are eligible for membership. Accommodating India into the NSG would therefore mean creating an exception in the nonproliferation regime similar to the 2008 U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement, which ended India's nuclear isolation. The 2008 deal, unprecedented in the history of the NPT, opened nuclear trade between NSG members and India while allowing India to carry on with its nuclear weapons program. ...

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