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India joining NSG will escalate nuclear race in South Asia: US senator

Updated May 26, 2016 10:35am


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WASHINGTON: A key US Senator, Ed Markey, has warned that enabling India to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) would cause a “never-ending” nuclear race in South Asia.

The NSG is a multinational body, which seeks to reduce nuclear proliferation by monitoring the export, re-transfer and protection of sensitive materials.

“What you are doing is creating an action-reaction that is leading to a never-ending escalation cycle that ultimately leads to development of nuclear weapons including battlefield nuclear weapons,” Senator Markey warned US Assistant Secretary for South Asia Nisha Biswal.

At a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on US-India Relations on Tuesday evening, Senator Markey reminded the US official that the Obama administration’s policy of helping India join NSG was a dangerous and unnecessary.

“Making these exemptions further infuriates Pakistan into further expanding its nuclear capacity. It is a very dangerous long-term trend, especially when we are so concerned on the spectre of nuclear weapons falling in the hands of non-state actors,” he said.

Since 2010, the US administration has been actively supporting India’s efforts to NSG.

“If India gained the membership of NSG then it would be the only participating government that was not a member of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). Despite lack of consensus in the NSG on India’s membership, the Obama administration is forcefully pressing for a vote in the coming months,” Senator Markey noted.

He said that the US had repeatedly carved out exemptions for India, starting with the sale of uranium in 1980, which was in 2008 through US-India nuclear deal that did not require full scope safeguards.

“Today we are not only granting India an exemption from global non-proliferation rules but instead we are working to include India in the body that decides on those rules,” he said.

Assistant Secretary Biswal said that President Obama had reaffirmed that India met the criteria and was ready to join the NSG and it also had harmonised its export control with the NSG and has adhered to the group’s guidelines.

Senator Markey disagreed, pointing out that India was not in compliance of the membership rules.

In our engagement with the NSG we have made the case that our considered view is that India has met the requirements for entry into NSG,” Ms Biswal said. “I will consult with my colleagues for a more technical response.”

“I don’t think any clear reading of the NSG rules can lead to that logical conclusion. I will be honest on that,” Senator Markey responded.

He noted that since 2008, when the US gave India an exemption, it has continued to produce fissile material for its nuclear weapons program “virtually unchecked.”

“At that time Pakistan warned us that the deal would increase the chances of the nuclear arms race in South Asia. It is clear that since then Pakistan has developed battlefield nuclear weapons that could be given to frontline Commanders and there is a likelihood of the use,” the senator added.

“In your view how would granting a state specific exemption would affect Pakistan’s nuclear choices. Would it complicate efforts to refrain Pakistan from undertaking further destabilising efforts such as the battlefield nuclear weapons?” he asked.

“Is there a relationship between what we do with India such as granting them exemptions from the rules and how we deal with Pakistan in restraining them from making certain choices?”

“We have distinct and robust dialogues with both countries and address interests of both countries on their respective merit,” Assistant Secretary Nisha Biswal said.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2016


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Comments (73) Closed

beef eater May 26, 2016 10:09am

Great article

Narendra May 26, 2016 10:14am

Indian stand is very clear, even if a small nuclear weapon is used from the pak on Indian soil or Indian soldiers then that is considered as a nuclear war and India will unleash hell on pakistan...

xmaestro May 26, 2016 10:14am

The world claims that Pakistan is producing nuclear assets at a faster rate than any other. Why not harness this capability and use it for better purposes by allowing Pakistan into this NSG? This only seams reasonable, unless of course India and US want to escalate this issue.

ZAFAR May 26, 2016 10:15am

“We have distinct and robust dialogues with both countries and address interests of both countries on their respective merit”- That says it all.

AA May 26, 2016 10:52am

I think all countries should stay away from nuclear power. I am a indian and I feel india shd stay away from nuclear power and material. Nuclear energy is threat to whole world and not just some countries. Nature gives us enough power via solar energy and other natural resources.

Irfanullah May 26, 2016 11:06am

who cares for this Senator, When Obama has made his mind.

further, is Pakistan so importantly discussed among US senates ??

India is a big market with lot's of investment potential everyone is eyeing, no one would like to spoil relations with India.

INDIAN May 26, 2016 11:11am

It is clear that India is going to join NSG soon. No one can stop this.

rich May 26, 2016 11:11am

need more indian origin people in usa govt decision making bodies

more senators more govenors, and financers

so that usa can address our legitimate concerns and requirement

as a poor developing country we need help from all countries who believe in democracy and human rights

Khan May 26, 2016 11:24am

@ZAFAR That says it all for what? The Obama administration? Because his policies might not be around much longer.

chandler May 26, 2016 11:41am

Don't worry India knows how to handle these things

Accountability May 26, 2016 11:55am

It would be a 'double standard' if India get smooth sailing to NSG, while Pakistan is discriminated for the same. Indian friends would support India for NSG, would Pakistani friends help Pakistan? Now, it would be interesting to see what is the caliber of pakistani foreign policy to deal with the issue.

MUGHNI May 26, 2016 12:05pm

Do not forget the Chinese Veto, which is there and waiting.

Azmeen May 26, 2016 12:12pm

Last paragraph of articles has clear implicit message for Pakistan.

Imran May 26, 2016 12:12pm

@Khan things will possibly get worse as both the US presidential candidates have more skewed views vis-a-vis Pakistan and India. Pakistans foriegn diplomacy has to pick up a notch or two as it is getting more isolated month by month.

Sk May 26, 2016 12:25pm

@Khan Obama is going but Hillary is coming and her views on Pakistan are known and if Trump comes, god forbid, his views on Pakistan and several other subjects are also known. A no win situation for Pakistan as US is not going away from Afghanistan anytime soon

Shahid May 26, 2016 12:41pm

US being a super power can bend the rules to suit its interests but it takes generations to enact/ mature international legal/ regulatory frameworks like NPT and once undermined they lose the very purpose for which these are made. Such exceptions will kill the international regulatory mechanisms, its a question of simple cost benefit analysis, US must have done their HOMEWORK

Afzal May 26, 2016 12:45pm

Remember Indian state ever since its appearance on the global map has been trying to replace Pakistan as US ally and finally It seems the two countries are now seeing a convergence of their national interests. America wants India for trade and for its new global agenda, albeit as a dispensable pawn, particularly to dilute Chinese influence. I Agee with the senator that India is not a country worthy of being given a space in the NSG particularly when it's inclusion will almost certainly trigger a reaction from Pakistan. In my view India should voluntarily give up its ambition to seek membership of the group as it could well add to the security risk facing South Asia.

indian May 26, 2016 01:36pm

If west needs business in the order of billions with India by supplying nuclear fuel, building nuclear reactors then they have to allow India to be part of NSG, West has more to gain than India.

AIZ May 26, 2016 01:51pm

@Narendra - Dont worry Pakistan will do the same....

Catalyst May 26, 2016 01:52pm

US is taking celebrate actions throughout Asia that guarantees the continuation of existing conflicts/issues and spawning further conflicts. India must seriously think about the future and its actions in spreading further instability in the region and the world.

AIZ May 26, 2016 01:53pm

US need Indian money and they can offer any thing against it............ It will be just a matter of time when US will be strong and will take up their hands from India. and Indians think they are very Vital in the world politics...........

Mohammad S. Khalid May 26, 2016 01:58pm


Mind of US Administration in the favor of India is useless, until and unless China makes his mind

irfan UK May 26, 2016 02:09pm

All those people who think that India can use Nukes on Pakistan and it would not affect India or vice versa are just fooling themselves. Nuke energy is so dangerous and the weapons are lethal and it would destroy the whole area Inc Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Bangladesh so be careful what you say. It's our leaders who need to wake up and stop being played in the hands of the Americans.

Harmony-1© May 26, 2016 02:14pm

@Narendra - Before thinking to "unleash hell on Pakistan", don't forget that 'hell' will engulf both nations. It's not a matter of empty threats, consider the consequences!

Indian May 26, 2016 02:16pm

Nuclear weapons in India do not possess any risk to anyone because of its no first use policy. India has been stable since Independence and there is no likelihood of any terrorist ever taking them over. Additionally, India has this clear stated policy that its nuclear weapons are only to defend and they are one of the means to become a world power.

rahul1 May 26, 2016 02:20pm

India is an important country in fighting global terror also it represents 1/6 of global population. Hence inclusion is more than justified. Why should Pakistan react so adversely when other neighboring nations are cool about it.

Roussou May 26, 2016 02:22pm

So when it comes to India, the rules can be bend. Favouritism is thy name, how fair is it?

Ravi May 26, 2016 02:23pm

@Irfanullah so might is right.

Harmony-1© May 26, 2016 02:26pm

@Chandler - Phew! You had us worried for a minute!

VV May 26, 2016 02:27pm

India's non proliferation record is well known. India's no first use policy is also well known. There is no duplicity when it comes to what India says and does in regards to nuclear weapons. It's use is completely in the hands of civilian government. India's economy and its power needs is growing exponentially.

Taimoor khan May 26, 2016 02:28pm

@Narendra DONT WORRY, we got clear doctrine as well. HE, SHE , THEY, IT, WHOEVER attack Pakistan, India will be send to OBLIVION. We have declared first strike doctrine. Question is, would you survive Pakistani onslaught to even think about "unleashing" your hell on Pakistan?

Taimoor khan May 26, 2016 02:38pm

Finally sense is knocked into Americans. Our sweet talks and polite reminders were ignored in the past, its only after the development of tactical nukes and long range Shaheen 3 they started to realize the repercussions of their rather reckless actions in giving India free hand. It is really unfortunate that the world we are living in today, logic and reasoning goes out of window and only actions, hostile actions in particular are taken notice of. Bottom line is, and that is where American power circles need to put their thinking cap on, that by giving free hand to India, they are forcing Pakistan to expand its own nuke program and its missiles range, which by default, not by design, is jeopardizing Israel own security as now it comes into the range of Pakistani ballistic missiles. Do the Americans really want to prop India up to the extent, at the expense of Israeli security interests?

MSN May 26, 2016 03:12pm

As if Pakistan will stop building Nuclear Arms if India is not Included.

Fahim May 26, 2016 03:23pm

@Narendra be in your senses and stop fantasizing, we are far better than yours in this case, didn't you read, few months ago, that international bodies have concern on the security of Indian nuclear arsenals.

Sunil May 26, 2016 03:32pm

@MUGHNI US has the power to over ride China's veto.

Li-N-Ja May 26, 2016 03:36pm

Insane logic. How can India's joining to the NSG will force Pakistan to produce fissile material and increase arms race? The logic should only like whether India fulfils the criteria to be a NSG member or not? How can the senator equate Pakistan with India? In same logic another Senator will ask to expel China from the NSG as China's presence in NSG is forcing India and to produce fissile material and increase in nuclear race in South Asia. The senator perhaps is un aware that France has joined NSG without signing NPT.

Hitesh May 26, 2016 03:52pm

@AIZ Please read Narendra's message carefully and then read your response to him

Hitesh May 26, 2016 03:54pm

I dont understand this logic. India deserve something but you are not allowing to get it what it deserves just because there is a confused and unstable neighbor? Why the world does not work to take that neighbor out of it confused state and make it more stable?

XPakistani May 26, 2016 03:58pm

@Narendra - If both sides use nuclear weapons against each other, then there will not be any victors. Nuclear weapons can cause unimaginable destruction.

Narendra May 26, 2016 03:58pm

@Taimoor khan we never threatened that we use nuclear in first stance, we even signed no first use, look whos talking.... question is did you guys signed the no first use,

Menon May 26, 2016 04:09pm

Let us admit, every one speaking against India is key.

Who the hell is Senator Ed Markey?

Harmony-1© May 26, 2016 04:15pm

@Narendra - What's the point of "signing" anything with India when India flagrantly disregards anything signed before? Refer to today's article here on 'Mapping Kashmir'.

Taimoor khan May 26, 2016 04:18pm

@Narendra We will only unleash hell on you if you stepped an inch on our territory, you have to ask the mental state of those among you who are projecting the cold start doctrine. It is in your own interest to put the cold start into cold storage for good and come to senses.

M. Malik May 26, 2016 04:27pm

With or without NSG, the arms race between the countries will continue. Sadly, at the expense of other critical developments, which could use the precious resources.

M. Siddique May 26, 2016 04:32pm

@Narendra, And Pakistan will respond more vigorously. Better if both countries step back and make peace.

Nitin May 26, 2016 04:36pm

@Harmony-1© Why Pakistan dont respects Shimla agreement which was signed by Pakistani leaders?

Kamal Pasha. May 26, 2016 04:49pm

Modi is doing it because he want to be the permanent member of UNSC before Germany and Japan.

Akber Ali May 26, 2016 04:53pm

US ;stop the double standard!

khanm May 26, 2016 05:22pm

India joining NSG will escalate nuclear race in South Asia: US senator... with due regrets and respect, you guys started it and you did not even hesitate to drop them let us not talk about high morals high grounds

SYED NASEEM AHMED May 26, 2016 05:30pm

@ Narendra - Be careful Pakistan will also leash India with whole of his
capabilities to destroy complete Indian Cities . Don't leave in a fool paradise.

Syed Naseem Ahmed

SYED NASEEM AHMED May 26, 2016 05:47pm

When USA sales any short of weapons our neighbor India is one who object
and now when Pakistan will object , they do not like . You pay what you

Syed Naseem Ahmed

Hitesh May 26, 2016 05:50pm

@SYED NASEEM AHMED - You know what happens when India Objects. If not, please read about the F-16 deal!!

No non sense May 26, 2016 06:12pm

Pakistan's nuclear program has been expanded more than it can afford and needed since 2008 (because of US announcement of India's support.)So there so question of escalation.

Bharat May 26, 2016 06:23pm

NSG is not related with nuclear weapons. India already have enough nukes for deterrence against China and has no intention of increasing its nukes arsenals (As it is very costly affair to maintain these). India needs NSG for its enormous energy requirements, which otherwise can't be fulfilled without creating environmental degradation. Whole purpose of applying for NSG is get access to clean energy technology so that we can move away from coal based power plants. It is not against Pakistan or China or any other country.

Ibrar May 26, 2016 07:26pm

@Irfanullah It is not about spoiling or saving relationships. India may be big market but there are security issues which have their own importance and no one can ignore Pakistan in that context. Do not underestimate yourself if you are a Pakistani at all.

Harmony-1© May 26, 2016 07:27pm

@Nitin - Shimla agreement stipulates bilateral dialogue but who keeps making excuses on any of our approaches for negotiations?

iTellYou May 26, 2016 08:10pm

Just like France which signed the NPT after joining the NSG, India will do the same.

Abhik Ray May 26, 2016 08:21pm

@beef eater Ed Markey is a cold war era politician. He is anachronistic, living in the yesteryears. To him, the world is safer with only the original 5 nuclear weapon states, no other country should have them!

Ghaznavi May 26, 2016 09:01pm

"We have distinct and robust dialogues with both countries and address interests of both countries on their respective merit,”

Another way of saying that we have double standards.

s.khan May 26, 2016 09:14pm

@Irfanullah It is not the market driving US policy on India. US export to India in one year is equal to its average two weeks' exports. It is Obama's bull headed "pivot to Asia" policy, replication of its alliances in Europe that contained Soviet Union. Using the same play book,Obama believes it can contain China. American hegemony in the world and its rules driven world order is under serious challenge by China. It is lining up India, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam and probably South Korea to oppose China. American policy will give lot of slack to India and put constraint on Pakistan. It is important for Pakistan to understand that line has been drawn and its desire for parity is useless. Incidentally China has a veto in NSC and can keep India out despite American push. Indian president is in China requesting them to allow India in.

Ash20 May 26, 2016 09:25pm

@Taimoor khan - didn't thought you are so weak that even before any battle, you are accepting defeat.

OZ May 26, 2016 11:16pm

@Narendra Really, If that happened, here is the out come. Pakistan will be gone 80 to 90%. India will be gone 60-80%. If this is acceptable, go ahead.

Zak May 27, 2016 12:03am

Assistant Secretary Nisha Biswal said.

She is indian spokesperson within US government.

anon May 27, 2016 12:14am

@Li-N-Ja wise comment!

Sunilsm May 27, 2016 10:57am

@OZ oz really. As per Nagendra s post u have to act first be it small or big, then you can see how we respond. If u have any doubts about ask mushy about your response on kargil.

Zak May 27, 2016 03:10pm

@s.khan China think of India-pakistan as in middle weight category, and they think of US and themselves in the Heavy weight category. In this case , China will ensure Pakistan gets what pakistan wants, because they don't want the opponent , US helping their subordinates-India against their friend -Pakistan.

Rao May 27, 2016 06:19pm

Is it not true that Pakistan has more atom bombs than Indya has? Only recently the Pak prime minister boasted that it possesses tactical nukes that can incinerate Indian troops if they cross Pak borders. With the help of big brother China and 56 billion aid in CPEC , Pakistan will soon turn into an Asian economic tiger. So worry about Indya joining NSG ?

MS May 27, 2016 08:25pm

In todays world, it is commerce which make a nation strong. India is poised for a tremendous growth with strong fundamentals. Subject like NSG will be resolved for India with due course of time.

a May 27, 2016 10:37pm

@Narendra Exactly ! Genuine and robust no first use policy...

uh-oh May 27, 2016 11:28pm

All good news.... may be it will wake up Pakistanis and it can actually start thinking about world politics and national interest.

Blessings in disguise....

logic1 May 28, 2016 10:24am

@beef eater But wrong India's NSG membership is not about arms: US to Pak:
In an apparent dissatisfaction over Pakistan's opposition to India becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the United States has said it is not about an arms race, but about civilian use of nuclear energy.

"This is not about an arms race and it's not about nuclear weapons. This is about the peaceful civil use of nuclear energy, and so we would certainly hope that Pakistan understands that," State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters at his daily news conference on Frida

M.Sethi May 28, 2016 04:47pm


You seem forget, China,with the veto power ! It can veto the inclusion of India on the basis that either both India and Pakistan , be accepted , or none .

people be smart May 29, 2016 06:11pm

mr nobel peace prized wanted a world free of nuclear weapons thats what he said not one week ago now he arms up india and who gave nukes to pakistan? probably the same forces who armed india at the end. would be their delight to see how india and pakistan annihilating each other in a nuclear war! would make the world domination for the anglo-american empire soo much easier!