India and its neighborhood relations, International relations.
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Quest for another Holy Grail – Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
India’s 30 year old effort to secure a permanent seat in UNSC has been characterized as the pursuit of a diplomatic holy grail.
A similar but less intense effort is on to seek admission to APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation).
India has now embarked on another quest to seek membership of NSG.
Nuclear Suppliers Group
NSG is a body of 48 nuclear supplier countries established to prevent the civilian nuclear trade from being used for military purposes.
It seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment, technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
It was formed in reaction to India’s nuclear technology demonstration test in 1974. And to prevent Indian advance towards nuclear weapons (to avoid diversion of nuke material exported from US and Canada to build nuclear warheads)
India successfully tested the Nuclear bomb (Smiling Buddha) on 18th May 1974. The bomb was detonated on army base in Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan.
It was the first confirmed nuclear weapon test by a nation outside the five permanent members of UNSC.
The plutonium used in the test was created in the CIRUS reactor supplied by Canada and using Heavy water supplied by United States.
Why India wants to Join NSG?
It gives access to the state of art technology that the countries within NSG possess.
There is a pressing need to scale up nuclear power production in India. At present we can buy power plants from global market (NSG wavier in 2008) but, there are several technologies India can be denied as it is outside the NSG.
With access to latest technology, India can commercialize the production of nuclear power equipment. This, in turn will boost innovation and high tech manufacturing in India and can be leveraged for economic and strategic benefits.
Should India get access to advanced nuclear technologies, it can start building updated versions of its own fast breeder reactor and sell it to countries such as Sri Lanka or Bangladesh. Bangladesh is currently looking at buying Russian reactors for power generation.
Having the ability to offer its own nuclear power plants to the world means spawning of an entire nuclear industry and related technology development. This could give the Make in India programme a big boost.
We have an unstable and unpredictable neighbour. Signing NPT and CTBT to gain access to all the technologies would put curbs on any further nuclear tests. Hence NSG membership is significant here.
China and Pakistan factor-
China is the main roadblock towards Indian ambition to join NSG.
Should India get membership to the NSG, it can block Pakistan from its membership as entry into the grouping is by consensus only.
This is one of the reasons why China is pushing to include Pakistan as well as pointing out that India as a non-signatory to the NPT cannot be a member.It comes down to a power game—keep India out and deny it access to various technologies.
India’s contention is that its nuclear technologies are indigenously developed and it has a clean non-proliferation record unlike Pakistan and China.
Arguments against the inclusion of India to NSG
“There are standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere and to which India doesn’t.”
“United States has sought to bend the rules for India’s nuclear program to maintain India’s cooperation on trade and to counter China’s growing influence. In 2008, President George W. Bush signed a civilian nuclear deal with India that allowed it to trade in nuclear materials. This has encouraged Pakistan to keep expanding a nuclear weapons program.”
“Membership would enhance India’s standing as a nuclear weapons state, but it is not merited until the country meets the group’s standards.”
“India would be in a position to keep Pakistan, which has also applied for membership, from gaining membership because group decisions must be unanimous. That could give Pakistan, which at one time provided nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran, new incentives to misbehave.”
India, despite being outside the NPT, is strictly adhered to the guidelines of NPT. China secretly sold nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan last year (violation of article 1 of NPT). Even if the US and Russia have cut the size of their arsenals – retaining enough to destroy each other and the world – China, France and Britain have shown no inclination to pursue negotiations on disarmament (clear violation of Article 4 of NPT)
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme is expanding, but it has nothing to do with the civilian nuclear deal India signed. A crucial part of that deal was a separation plan that India implemented in which it agreed to place several of its indigenous power reactors under international safeguards – thus surrendering the ability to use those reactors to produce fissile material for weapons.
India aligned its export regulations with those of the NSG, it has also committed itself to implementing any new guidelines the group may adopt – even if this means hurting India’s commercial interests. The irony is that the NSG today has members, notably China, that do not meet the group’s standards.
Before Pakistan aspires to membership of the NSG, shouldn’t it be encouraged to first sign on to the “responsibilities and practices”
Despite the huge advantages India may gain by joining NSG, there are some other issues which need to be look into otherwise it may likely put India in an uncomfortable position.
NSG membership will not immediately open up nuclear trade as India has already pledged not to transfer nuclear know-how to other countries.
If we attempt to dilute the guidelines to liberalize the supply, it will be resisted by other members.
Membership of NSG will only mean greater pressure on us to sign NPT and CTBT and commit in advance to a fissile material cut off treaty, which would impose restrictions on existing stockpiles of the fissile material.
2008 Civil nuclear deal with US:
Paved way for India’s application as a member of NSG.
NSG issued an India specific waiver allowing it to engage in nuclear trade.
India has since signed civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Argentina, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, and South Korea.
The U.S., U.K., France and Russia are in favour of including India in the NSG
India’s commitment to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes and its non-proliferation record—ie ensuring that its indigenously developed technology is not shared with other countries—is what works in its favour.
India has also ratified an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means that its civilian reactors are under IAEA safeguards and open for inspections—ie ensures increased transparency.
Critically analyse the role of multilateral nuclear export control regimes in nuclear non-proliferation.
Which among the various non-proliferation regimes India should Join and which are not to? Substantiate your views
“The high level pursuit of NSG membership may give the impression that India is unrealistic in its expectations from international community.” Discuss.
TOPIC: General studies 2
Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector or Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
The grip of ‘Drug’ Hurricane
The thriving de-addiction centres, a continuous inflow of patients of whom the majority falls in the 18 to 35 age group, children selling drugs to earn money to fund their addiction…
The seriousness of Punjab’s drug problem
The only state to commission a drug abuse study—The Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey, which was conducted between February and April 2015, found that 230,000 people in the state were drug users; 836 drug users per 100,000 people in the state
Average rate of crime under NDPS Act in Punjab has been the highest in the country between 2005 and 2014; about 44.5% of total convicts under the NDPS Act in India at the end of 2014 were in Punjab— much more than the next highest state at 10% (figures consistently rising)
Crime rate under NDPS Act in Punjab has been consistently higher than all other states
Punjab ranks among the top five states that reported the biggest drug seizures in 2014 (Other four: Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Uttar Pradesh— Punjab isn’t alone— Wedged between the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos and Vietnam) in the east and the Golden Crescent (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan) in the west, many regions in India, such as the north-east, are particularly vulnerable)
The Punjab Opioid Dependence Survey found that 89% of opioid dependents in Punjab were literate and educated, 83% were employed and they were mostly male
Can be traced back from early 1960s with the advent of green revolution which bought more labourers to the lucrative fields; leading to a huge surge in demand for the poppy husk and opium (Studies suggests that landowners supply raw opium to farm labourers to encourage them to work harder)
Case of the drivers of trucks or simply a driver for a long distance— tend to believe that these drugs help them stay wide awake, and so acts like a buffer between their sleep and accidents.
Commercialisation of education— Not much efforts is being put in to improve the quality of education in government schools. New colleges are being opened up without undertaking any kind of quality check.
Clash between unemployment and the culture of aspiration- Joblessness has prevailed big time despite the economic reforms brought in the country. Being in the vicinity of the disease called terrorism, industrialization as well as the agriculture sector kept on suffering— leading to the lack of absorption capacity of their increasing population. (Also count Partition, Khalistan, Operation Blue Star, communal riots, Black Thunder)
Shift in industries gradually took place due to heavy tax rebates and concessions on taxes in neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand— Led to the increase in unemployment
Expanding Social Disconnect: is the root cause of every addiction like drugs, gambling, smoking, pornography, and alcohol and thus, embracing them in our lives holds the key to bringing the addicts back to the society
Narco-terrorism— there has been a steady supply of drugs from across the border
Heroin (chitta) is mostly home-grown (easy access)
Corruption and laxity in border security architecture
Modus operandi among smugglers in both Pakistan and India of supplying and receiving consignments through border villages— With the fence now being electrified, these smugglers use a large and long plastic pipe to drop the narcotics
Widespread political ties: There exists a vicious circle— a part of what they earn through drugs sales goes into election campaigns and part of it is used to buy more drugs. No mention of drug abuse in any of the manifestos being distributed by most of the political parties
Governmental approach— emphasizes criminality rather than a holistic approach integrating demand reduction, harm reduction and supply reduction
Inadequate system in place— the police station and the prisons; to deal with the addicts’ challenging physiological and psychological symptoms and illnesses
Vacant psychiatrist’s post; no full-time doctor
No male nurse, ward attendant or other paramedical staff
Easy availability of drugs inside
A war on its addicts:
Misplaced definition of a drug addict— Means a person suffering from mental or psychological disease; the overriding stigma attached and the practice of sending them to the jails robs one of his chance to rehabilitate oneself— Should be sent to de-addiction centres and not to jails
The staggering human and social cost of Punjab’s skewed crackdown on drugs— Scrutiny of FIRs in the most affected districts by The Indian Express reveals an average of over 25 addicts being booked each day — in effect, dragging 25 families into a broken penal system. At least 174 individuals charged under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act, have died in prisons — 88 in 2014 and 86 in 2015.
People found with burnt matchsticks and silver foils were also arrested under the NDPS Act
Crackdown has been majorly flawed with no foresight and planning— The big fish continue to roam free owing to their political connections
A change in approach of the government is of utmost importance—
Harm reduction—providing clean needles, sterilization equipment and the like, to drug users—has proved to be effective in Manipur as well as in other countries in minimizing secondary damage such as the spread of AIDS and Hepatitis C
Demand reduction strategy— Involves
Perception management of the youth and parents,
Effective affordable rehabilitation centres,
Focus on high-prevalence drug groups such as sex workers, transportation workers and street children
Simultaneous development of the state and redressal of the unemployment situation
Supply side reduction—
Zero-tolerance policy towards drug cartels, syndicates and peddlers
Preventing diversion of licit cultivation of opium and opiate pharmaceutical drugs
Checking illicit cultivation of opium
Closing porous borders (be made a non-negotiable clause in India’s drug abuse prevention policy)
Has the political nexus in India enabled and facilitated the increase in drug trafficking? Discuss the magnitude of the issue and provide an action plan to counter the same.
There has been a widespread discussion over the upcoming Indian crime thriller film, ‘Udta Punjab’. Does a creative piece deserve the kind of treatment that is being meted out to it? Is it the case of flawed expectations out of the Indian audience or the ‘withdrawal symptom’ being witnessed owing to the pending changes in the standards of film certification?