Baber Ali Bhatti's Blog

NSG conundrum and Strategic Stability in South Asia

October 26, 2017

Creation of Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) was an attempt to carry the perennial fight against nuclear proliferation. Group was created in 1974 when India steadily carried out the nuclear explosion which irreversibly changed the strategic environment in South Asia. Now, Indian inclusion in this group is receiving the close review of analysts and strategists. Primarily, NSG was formed to prevent the nuclear proliferation by all means including overseeing the re-transfer, export and protection of all kind of materials that may possibly foster the nuclear proliferation. According to the stipulated terms of NSG, Only signatories of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can become the member of NSG. India is intensely pursuing the membership of NSG despite the fact that NPT was not ratified by India. Firm proponents of NSG believe that Inclusion of non-signatory states may kill the very objective of the formation of this group.

India is operating to secure the membership of that group so is Pakistan. Realism-the most dominated school of thought-implies that every state seeks to safeguards its interests. However, realists should not sell idealism as placebo while adopting the realism as operating paradigm. This especially refers to US which has become lynchpin for India and affecting the strategic stability of South Asia.

The fact also astonishes those members of NSG club accepting the Indian inclusion without raising their reservations and demanding NPT signature. Surprisingly, Indian pursuit was not discouraged by any means on any forum. Simultaneously, Pakistan is devoid of NSG waiver which was given to India which also implied the incarnate discrimination toward Pakistan.

Indian and Pakistan are two protagonists of South Asian region. Such discrimination would not only destabilize the strategic balance in south Asia but also exert the tremendous negative impacts on the credibility of NSG. Strategic balance would be affected as it will enable India to divert its domestic reserves for weapons production. Because, nuclear trade with other countries will cater for India’s so called peaceful use related needs.

This admission would also affect the international NPT regime. China is the only country opposing this admission by claiming it as the violation of international norms.

Pakistan also started to follow the same path after India’s maneuvering for this membership having known that both countries do not qualify for admission without signing the NPT.

If India be granted that membership, NSG would lose its effectiveness. It would be pellucid demonstration of violation of International norms. However, if India gets the membership Pakistan must also be given the membership. Otherwise, international community would again face the discrimination in favor of India and against the Pakistan which may lead to destabilization of region.

India is not meeting the primary requirement for admission in this group that is to sign NPT. Pakistan is also not meeting that requirement. Other requirements including expertise, manpower, infrastructure, goods and services for nuclear application and ability to supply NSG controlled items can be analyzed that both countries are meeting. Therefore, keeping in view the nuclear status of both countries and strategic balance of south Asia, both countries should be given or denied this membership simultaneously. Otherwise, it would bring havoc for balance in south Asia in strategic terms.

US being the responsible state of contemporary world order is not playing the positive role as it was expecting to. Active support of US for Indian membership does not show any liable attitude in international affairs, as claimed by International New York Times that India does not deserve to be the member of NSG on merit. Despite the fact that Indian admission into NSG would also damage the strategic stability in south Asia, US’s behavior can be ascribed as irresponsible.

NSG would not be able to curb the nuclear proliferation as effectively as before. Second loss that NSG would face, after the loss of credibility, will be the failure of its functions and performance. In all of this described scenario, Credibility of NSG and Strategic Balance in south Asia both are at stake. It should be considered as negative development in international landscape. Therefore, international community must resist the entrance of both countries in NSG by all available means or both countries should be favored equally for admission. Long lasting peace in international environment intensively needs the concerns of all influential states who might play their part.

In this specific issue regarding the inclusion into NSG, all NSG members are required to follow the international norms and behavior and NSG Guidelines published in 1978.

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