What is Nuclear Suppliers Group?

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While Chine and Pakistan have expressed concerns over India's membership of the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group), the US has defended her saying India's NSG membership is not about arms race but civilian use of the nuclear energy. [India's NSG membership not about arms: US to Pak]

Here we take a look at the NSG and India's position in relation to it:

The NSG is a multi-national body which aims at reduction of proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is a 48-menber body which was established to stop civilian nuclear trade from being used for military purpose.

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History behind the setting up of the NSG:

The NSG was set up in response to India's first nuclear test in May 1974. It first met in November the following year. The Indian test proved that certain non-weapons specific nuclear technology could be used for developing weapons. Nations that were already signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treat (NPT) felt the need to further limit the export of nuclear equipment and materials of technology.

A series of meetings held in London between 1975-78 resulted in arriving at the agreements on the export guidelines and they were published as INFCIRC/254 (essentially the Zangger "Trigger List") by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [India ready for NSG membership: US]

The listed items could only be exported to non-nuclear states if certain IAEA safeguards were agreed to or if any exceptional circumstance related to safety existed. The name London Club came as a result of a series of meetings in London. It was also referred to as the London Group or the London Suppliers Group.

India hasn't signed the NPT or CTBT

Though the NSG has been open to welcoming new members to its clan, the group has so far opened its doors only to nations that have signed the NPT or Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). India has signed none of the two treaties.

The membership of the NSG helps in easing the transfer of technology and raw materials among the participant countries and US firms. ['China helped block India's NSG membership bid']

India's position vis-a-vis NSG

In July 2006, the US Congress amended laws to allow civilian nuclear trade with India. In 2008, the NSG members agreed to grant India a "clean waiver" from its existing rules that stopped nuclear trade with a country which has not signed the NPT.

The West supported India's membership to the NSG

In November 2010, US President Barack Obama spoke about his country's support to India's participation in the NSG. France and the UK also expressed their support for India's inclusion in the NSG. In January 2015, Obama said during his visit to India that the latter was ready for an NSG membership. His countrt reiterated the same earlier this month as well.

China and Pakistan opposed the idea

While Chima offered a conditional support to India's membership in the NSG, Pakistan applied for an NSG membership in May this year, may be to stop India's entry into the group.

China has opposed India's bid to get an NSG membership saying India was yet to sign the NPT. Moreover, it is also trying to get Pakistan an entry into the club.

However, China sent a signal on Friday (May 27) that it might reconsider its stand on India's membership to the NSG following a meeting between the presidents of the two countries---Xi Jinping and Pranab Mukherjee---during the latter's recent visit to Beijing.

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