A prominent arms control organisation has asked the Nuclear Supplier Group to reject the revised draft, that exempts India from certain guidelines for nuclear trade, as it does not contain any meaningful adjustments.
On the eve of the crucial meeting of the 45-member NSG, the Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball argued that, "The revised proposal does not incorporate any meaningful adjustments or concessions and is essentially the same as the earlier draft proposal."
Kimball pointed out to a paragraph in the revised draft that says that all governments participating in the NSG shall inform each other on what bilateral cooperation they are pursuing with India, after the exemption is approved.
"This would be mildly useful ahead of an NSG decision, but does not hold India accountable to any non-proliferation or disarmament commitments," Kimball said in an e-mail, going on to point out to yet another paragraph that says participating governments can call an extraordinary consultation within the NSG on India "should circumstances require it."
"This is being characterised as a response to several proposals from NSG states for a regular review mechanism for nuclear trade with India. But in reality, this does not do anything more than what is already in the NSG guidelines under (paragraph 16) that allows for a special meeting of NSG states in the event of extraordinary events, including nuclear tests," the senior arms control expert has maintained.
He asked the NSG members to "flatly reject the proposal and NSG states should insist on the conditions and restrictions outlined in the August 15 experts and NGOs letter."
Kimball recommends that if NSG states agree to supply nuclear fuel to India, "then all nuclear cooperation with India involving NSG members shall be terminated and unused fuel supplies from NSG states shall be returned, if it (India) resumes nuclear testing, or it violates safeguards agreement with the IAEA or withdraws 'civilian' facilities or material
from international safeguards.
Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango
"NSG states should expressly prohibit any transfer of sensitive plutonium reprocessing, uranium enrichment, or heavy water production items to India, whether inside or outside bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements, and supply the fuel in a manner that is commensurate with ordinary reactor operating requirements and not provide individually or collectively strategic or lifetime nuclear fuel reserves," he said.
He asked NSG states to actively oppose any arrangement that would give India any special safeguards exemptions or would in any way be inconsistent with the principle of permanent and unconditional safeguards over all nuclear material and facilities subject to its safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
"Before India is granted a waiver from the NSG's full-scope safeguards standard, it should join the other original nuclear weapon states by declaring it has stopped fissile material production for weapons purposes and transform its nuclear test moratorium into a meaningful, legally-binding commitment," Kimball said.
The arms expert maintained that the NSG states should agree not to grant India consent to reprocess nuclear fuel, supplied by an NSG member state, in a facility that is not under permanent and unconditional IAEA safeguards.
"The Indian nuclear deal would be a non-proliferation disaster and a serious setback to the prospects of global nuclear disarmament, especially now," the ACA official has said.
"More than just six states are opposed to a 'Clean' or 'Unconditional' waiver. It has been widely reported that a group of six like-minded states (Austria, Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland) have put forward proposals for restrictions, conditions, and a review mechanism for nuclear trade with India, but the group of
states backing these ideas is actually far larger, probably around 15 total," Kimball maintained.
"These include Japan, several other northern European states, and possibly China. The commentary in China's official People's Daily calls the India deal a 'major blow' to non-proliferation, raising the possibility that China is unhappy with the proposed US waiver for India," he added.