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
As per a report, India has warned Russia that it would stall cooperation with its foreign partners for development of civil nuclear programmes if it is unable to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) in next two years. India has also said that India-Russia MoU will be puton back burner for developing sixreactor units at Kudankulam. Signs of India’s decision was made known when it gave no assurance to Russia’s Deputy PM when the issue related to MoU was taken up. This signals India’s disappointment about Russia not playing a proactive role on NSG bid.
What can Russia do?
As far as NSG membership is concerned, no single country can pull off an entry of a country. However, Russia has been supportive of India’s role and position as regards NSG for a very long time. Russia has been helping India with supply of uranium even before Indo-US civil nuclear deal. Indo-Russian nuclear cooperation has been long standing partnership. So given this kind of background and close cooperation, it is natural if India expects Russia to push its case in NSG.
Currently in NSG, there is only China which is causing problems. China doesn’t have a case in terms of strategic policy or capability of Indian scientists or need for energy. China has had problem with India for sometime which is known through its stand at UNGA propositions or UNSC. In relation between Russia and China, China is increasingly becoming economically a greater power. With Russia becoming increasingly close to china in the international affairs and both taking common positions, if India expects Russia to persuade china to see India’s case, it is also natural.
Developing and refining nuclear technology is not easy and no haste should be made on it. India should keep putting pressure on Russia but within limits.
Indigenous nuclear programme
Recently, the cabinet cleared proposal for making new 10 large indigenous reactors, of 7000MWs. The Indian technology and Make in India is what is going to take space forward. If imports can happen, India will not lack energy as it has its own reactors.
However, the argument persists, if India can develop indigenously, then why bother about NSG? This means that there is something necessary to enter NSG. Technology in nuclear field is evolving and has many dimensions. Even if Westinghouse or areva are closing down, NSG has many companies in the west which have relations with each other, here sharing of technology is the key to new where technology is important.
Economics of nuclear power has gone down in past few years and it is very expensive too.
If India wants to be in nuclear field for next half century, it is better to be inter-connected with the world and be a partner.
This has been the whole premise of Indo-US nuclear deal 2005 where US wants India to be fully involved with global nuclear community as an advanced nuclear power. NSG is a step to that process. However, China is the one which is creating deliberate roadblocks for India. Due to Pakistan, it wants to prevent India. Nowhere in the NSG allows to connect one country’s membership to another country’s membership. Same problem is with India’s membership in UNSC. This is blunt politics played by China which has become more assertive after 2008 US economic crisis.
Russia has been India’s friend for a long time, regardless of its problems with USA and has been time tested. If India looks up to Russia for support, it is logical and natural. Though, till now there has been no official story about India trying to leverage Russia. In diplomacy, there is no leverage if it is not needed. Indian diplomacy is refined and sophisticated and not coercive of the sense that if you don’t do this then the future tasks may not be done. India has to work with Russia through pressure or persuasion.
The real issue with membership is when one is sitting on the high table where the rules are formulated, it gives a lot of decision making power and this is what India wants right now. Thus, NSG membership is of key significance when taking decisions about future of a nuclear technology world.
NSG membership is required for several reasons. If India’s indigenous nuclear programme has to grow the way India wants, then there is need to import uranium for long term and on reliable basis. It can happen reliably only when India becomes NSG member.The 2008 exemptions in NSG ensured that India gets uranium from Russia without hindrance. India has had uranium supply form Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and now with Australia and Canada. But the decision making power still eludes it. With the membership, India can also export the small reactors. So increase the capacity and to improve the quality of reactors to make them more efficient, technology is needed. Nevertheless, India has to play its cards carefully and approach the matter cautiously with top diplomacy as it is going to be long process.
The way forward is to persuade all the countries to unanimously take India into NSG. To win china, last time USA applied lot of pressure on China but didn’t work. So now India is using different tactic to ask Russia to support its membership. The more china is inimical to India, the more friends are needed for India. So in diplomacy, one shouldn’t go Don Quixote with an attitude of fighting against windmills. India should also try to tweak itsforeign policy a bit and get into terms with China. The real problem they have it is about Dalai Lama activism which is present in India and hence the reactions follow.
Connecting the dots:
What is the importance of India’s entry into NSG membership? How will it affect India’s newly approved 10 PHWRs? Examine.
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