India, China, the United States and the NSG Impasse: Competing Objectives or Just a Distraction?


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India’s attempt to secure membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) failed at the plenary meeting in Seoul on 24 June 2016, when China led some sixteen of the forty-eight member countries, to deny it membership on “procedural” grounds, its arguments supported by India’s long-held decision not to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The NSG decision may be seen in the light of the decade-long slow-motion history of the Indo-United States Nuclear Agreement signed in 2005, without which NSG membership for India would not have arisen. As background, the Indo-US ‘deal’ was built on enabling legislation and agreements: The Hyde Act (2006), the 123 Agreement (2007), the India-International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement (2008), and the waiver granted to India by the NSG also in 2008. The latter allowed privileges normally available only to member states, which India was not, and US President Obama prematurely recognised India as a nuclear power in 2010. India’s Nuclear Liability Legislation, an enabling aspect of civilian nuclear trade remained contentious for the US until 2016. Within the frame of the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement, China’s blocking of India’s NSG membership in tandem with its encircling of India both physically, and with investments across South Asia, raise questions: was China’s blocking of India’s NGS bid a bilateral move? Does the NSG’s decision affect Indian and Chinese regional objectives? Is India affected by remaining outside the NSG?
Original languageEnglish
TypePrimary source assessment written by associates of the Future Directions International (FDI) research institute
Media of outputWritten work - Associate Paper
PublisherFuture Directions International Pty Ltd
Number of pages5
Place of PublicationFuture Directions International - online
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016


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