Tag Archives: nuclear suppliers group

The Process of Legitimation of a Nuclear Power

Soldier wears mask to protect against chemical weapons. Image from wikipedia

India on January 19, 2017 joined the Australia Group which aims to stop the development and acquisition of chemical and biological weapons, a move that may take the country an inch closer to joining the Nuclear Suppliers’ group (NSG).  This is the third multilateral export control group – after the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Wassenaar Arrangement – that India has become a member of.  The Ministry of External Affairs said that the series of multilateral export control groups that India has joined “helps in establishing our credentials” for joining the NSG. India joined the MTCR in June 2016, followed by the Wassenaar Arrangement in December 2017…

India’s application to the NSG has been pending largely due to opposition from China, which wants the group to first draw up guidelines for all the candidates who have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Pakistan has also applied to join the NSG, but has never been granted a waiver from the NSG’s export rules, unlike India, which was given one in 2008.

Excerpts from India Enters Australia Group, Inches Closer to Joining Nuclear Suppliers Group, https://thewire.in/,  Jan. 19, 2018

Entering the Nuclear Elite: India and the NSG

Countries supporting India's membership in the NSG

Six years after they began negotiating, India and Japan finally signed on November 2016 a landmark nuclear agreement opening the doors for India to commission nuclear reactors by global entities and possibly boosting India’s claim for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).  The deal is significant in view of the reservations of Japan, the only country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons, and for India’s efforts to diversify the sources of equipment and technology it will need to boost nuclear power generation.

The completion of the nuclear deal comes as the NSG is meeting in Vienna to discuss, among other issues, if non-NPT (nuclear non-proliferation Treaty) countries like India can enter this exclusive grouping. ..

[T]he Japan nuclear deal had a number of similarities with the US deal.  However, while the US deal was done in four stages, the Japan pact compressed all four stages – a 123 agreement, reprocessing, administrative arrangements and NSG – into one. In addition, Jaishankar said, Japan’s own concerns meant that nuclear safety and security received bigger space in this deal.
Japan, like the US, has built in a clause that it would cease cooperation if India conducted nuclear tests… India had taken on certain non-proliferation commitments in September 2008 while applying for the NSG waiver. India stood by these, and these have been the basis for its application to membership of the NSG….
Although India signed a nuclear deal with the US, it needed a similar deal with Japan to actually realise the deal. India commissioned six EPR reactors from Areva and another four from Toshiba-Westinghouse. Both companies use Japanese components which would not be forthcoming in the absence of a nuclear deal with Japan. In particular, Japan Steel Works is the global leader for manufacture of the reactor vessel, which is a core component.

Excerpts from India, Japan sign landmark civil nuclear deal, Times of India, Nov. 12, 2016

The Ascend of a Nuclear Power: India


In a major step towards realizing its nuclear energy ambitions, India is engaged in talks with the European Union to sign a civil nuclear cooperation agreement and the deal is expected to be inked by next year.  “An agreement is expected to be signed between the India’s department of atomic energy and joint research centre of the European Union. It will mostly focus on areas of research and energy,” EU’s ambassador to India Joao Cravinho told PTI…Cravinho said talks between the two sides are on and the agreement should be signed next year (2015). He, however, did not give any specific time frame on when the agreement will be inked.“There were concerns raised by few countries about signing an agreement because India is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but there is a consensus on this now,” he said….

The deal would provide a major boost to India’s efforts in getting an entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group, considering the clout of the EU on the global platform.  After the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal, India has signed nuclear deals with Russia, Kazakhstan, United Kingdom, South Korea, Mongolia, and France.  It also signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia in September, paving way to import uranium for its reactors.

India, EU to sign civil nuclear pact by next year, PTI,  Nov 16, 2014

India as the Exception: the Geopolitics of Nuclear Weapons


The United States, Britain and others have argued that nuclear-armed India should join the secretive 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – established in 1975 to ensure that civilian atomic trade is not diverted for military purposes.  But other NSG states have voiced doubt about accepting a country that built up a nuclear arsenal outside a 189-nation treaty set up four decades ago to prevent states from acquiring such weapons of mass destruction.

Days ahead of the June 26-27 NSG meeting in Buenos Aires, India said it was ratifying an agreement, a so-called Additional Protocol, with the International Atomic Energy Agency to expand oversight over its civilian nuclear programme.  The United States said this marked another “important step in bringing India into the international non-proliferation mainstream”. But some critics questioned the step’s significance, as it would not affect India’s nuclear weapons programme and sensitive atomic fuel activities.  They said the Indian agreement was a much weaker version of a deal most other IAEA members have, giving the U.N. watchdog wide inspection powers to make sure there are no covert nuclear activities in a country.  “India’s version of the Additional Protocol is a paper tiger,” said Daryl Kimball of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, a research and advocacy group….

The diplomatic tussle centres on whether the emerging power should be allowed into a key forum deciding rules for civilian nuclear trade, even though it never joined the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), under which it would have to give up its nuclear weapons…

India – Asia’s third-largest economy – would need the support of all NSG states to join the cartel that has a pivotal role in countering nuclear threats and proliferation.  If India eventually were to become a member, it would boost its standing as an atomic power. It would be the only member of the suppliers group that has not signed up to the NPT.

Supporters say it is better if the country is inside than outside the NSG as it is already an advanced nuclear energy power and will in future become a significant exporter as well.  Those who are sceptical argue it could erode the credibility of the NPT, which is a cornerstone of global nuclear disarmament efforts.

Diplomats have said that China and some others have been doubtful. Beijing’s reservations are believed to be influenced by its ties to its ally Pakistan, India’s rival, which has also tested atomic bombs and is also outside the NPT, analysts say.

Excerpts,Nuclear Suppliers Group to discuss ties with India,Reuters, Jun 24, 2014

When Sanctions Start to Bite: Iran, North Korea, Syria Nuclear Nonproliferation

On May 23, 2011, pursuant to the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), the United States imposed sanctions on two Belarusian entities, three Chinese entities and one individual, five Iranian entities and one individual, one North Korean entity, two Syrian entities and one Venezuelan entity.

The sanctioned entities are:

Belarusian entities – Belarusian Optical Mechanical Association and BelTechExport;

Chinese entities and individuals – Mr. Karl Lee, Dalian Sunny Industries, Dalian Zhongbang Chemical Industries Company, and Xian Junyun Electronic

Iranian entities and individuals – Milad Jafari, Defense Industries Organization, Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force, SAD Import-Export Company, and Shahid Bakeri Industries Group (SBIG)

North Korean entity – Tangun Trading

Syrian entities – Industrial Establishment of Defense and Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC)

Venezuelan entity – Venezuela Military Industries Company (CAVIM)

Sanctions were imposed on these entities as provided in the INKSNA because there was credible information indicating that they had transferred to or acquired from Iran, North Korea, or Syria equipment and technology listed on multilateral export control lists (Australia Group, Chemical Weapons Convention, Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement) or otherwise having the potential to make a material contribution to WMD or cruise or ballistic missile systems.

The sanctions apply to the specific entities above and will be in effect for two years. The sanctions do not apply to these entities’ respective countries or governments.

The sanctions consist of the following:

No department or agency of the U.S. Government may procure, or enter into any contract for the procurement of, any goods, services or technology from these entities;

No department or agency of the U.S. Government may provide any assistance to these entities and they shall not be eligible to participate in any assistance program of the U.S. Government;

U.S. Government sales of any item on the U.S. munitions list (USML) to any of these entities are prohibited, and sales of any defense articles, defense services or design and construction services controlled under the Arms Export Control Act are terminated; and

New licenses will be denied and any existing licenses suspended, for transfer to these entities of items controlled under the Export Administration Act of 1979 or Export Administration Regulations.

Iran, North Korea and Syria nonproliferation Act (INKSNA), Fact Sheet, United States Department of State Press Release, May 24, 2011

India-United States Nuclear Deal

The United States has been eager to strengthen its cooperation with India, which it views as a strategic hedge against China. Since the early 2000s India and the United States have tried to concoct ways to cooperate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This has not been easy, though, because of United States and international non-proliferation standards.

The United States Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978 as it amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 imposed the adoption of safeguards as a prerequisite for nuclear exports to NNWS. For the United States to export nuclear materials and technologies to a NNWS a cooperation agreement with that state must be concluded. The United States has signed about 27 cooperation agreements with NNWS and a cooperation agreement with India lasted from 1963 to 1993. The United States supported the Indian nuclear program since its beginnings in the mid-1950s by helping to build a nuclear power reactor — the Tarapur nuclear power reactor. India’s ‘peaceful’ nuclear explosion in 1974 provided incontrovertible evidence of what was known to be inevitable: nuclear technology transferred for peaceful purposes can be diverted to military use. As a response to the Indian nuclear test, the United States cooperated with other countries to develop the NSG. The establishment of the NSG hampered India’s imports of nuclear-related technologies and materials. The United States cooperation with India had now to be based on a series of exceptions to the general United States non-proliferation laws.

On July 18, 2005, the prime minister of India and the president of the United States adopted a joint statement on cooperation including the field of nuclear energy. The joint statement accords to India the status of a legitimate NWS. India agrees to assume the same responsibilities and practices as other NWS with advanced nuclear technology. These responsibilities and practices include:

• separation of civilian facilities from military nuclear facilities and programs;

• placement of civilian nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards;

• adherence to the 1997 additional protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities;

• maintenance of the Indian moratorium on nuclear testing;

• commitment to continue negotiations for the conclusion of a FMCT;

• commitment not to transfer enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states that do not have such technologies and to support international efforts to limit the spread of such technologies; and

• application of the NSG and the MTCR guidelines.

Moving from a joint statement to a bilateral agreement was fraught with difficulties. There was a concern that exceptions made for India would fuel demands for exceptions for other countries that have acquired nuclear weapons outside the NPT. Including India in the nuclear non-proliferation order (NPO), as a NWS, could generate a bad precedent as it would signal to other states that their developing nuclear weapons applications can be forgiven and potentially rewarded.

The agreement was adopted on August 3, 2007. Both the parties recognize that nuclear energy can help meet growing energy demands in a cleaner and more efficient manner and contribute to energy security. The agreement is a cooperation agreement on the civilian use of nuclear energy and it is understood that a line of separation should exist between the civil and the military programs in both the states. None of the technologies or materials to be traded and exchanged, based on the agreement, is to be used for military purposes. The agreement covers all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle. The United States conveys its commitment “to the reliable supply of fuel to India.”

In return, India undertakes to place its civilian nuclear facilities in perpetuity under India-specific safeguards negotiated between India and the IAEA. State parties grant each other consent to reprocess or otherwise alter the form and content of the material transferred between them. In this respect, India will establish a national reprocessing facility dedicated to the reprocessing of nuclear material under IAEA safeguards.

The agreement provides for the storage of nuclear materials transferred under the agreement that must be subject to the IAEA physical protection requirements, and for the protection of environment, health and safety. Specific provisions for the termination of the agreement, addressing the return of material and equipment, are included. Based on the safeguards agreement negotiated between India and the IAEA, India has placed fourteen nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards. Furthermore, after intensive lobbying by the United States, India ‘received clearance’ in the NSG based on which India can receive now nuclear equipment and materials from states that belong to the group.

Excerpt from Nuclear Weapons: Justice and the Law by Elli Louka (forthcoming summer 2011)