India’s NSG Waiver

Jeffrey Lewis of Arms Control Wonk on the NSG’s India waivers here and here. Apparently no side deals were cut to get some of the last holdouts in Vienna on board for the waiver, although informal assurances were given that no one had any plans to transfer sensitive dual use enrichment technology to India. Essentially, the deal was approved despite the fact, or perhaps because of the fact, that neither the NSG holdouts nor India received any formal guarantees that their red lines wouldn’t be crossed. I’ve got mixed feelings about the deal in general, since I find both the argument that it undermines non-proliferation efforts as compelling as the logic of strengthening strategic ties with India. But the fact that the deal has been sealed by such an incoherent and vague waiver seems to weaken it considerably. Then again, maybe that’s an advantage, since no one can really use it as a concrete precedent.

India’s NSG Waiver

I haven’t gone through the NSG’s India waiver, but I’m skeptical of the value of an agreement that both sides seem to think supports their mutually exclusive positions. The key sticking point was whether India would be guaranteed an uninterrupted enriched uranium supply in the event of, say, a resumption of nuclear weapons testing. India says yes, the NSG says no.

Says Jeffrey Lewis at Arms Control Wonk:

One of the two parties is wrong. I am not eager to find out which.

The agreed upon solution seems to be that everyone will do their best to make sure we never have to. Hey, why not? What’s a little enriched uranium between friends?

Lewis also echoes what seems to be the gathering consensus about the U.S.-India nuclear deal, namely that it’s a lucrative one for France and Russia. For the implications of the NSG negotiations for India-China relations, see Rory Medcalf’s analysis over at The Interpreter.