Can the reiteration of a 10-year-old policy change India’s fortunes at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting in Vienna?
Maybe it can. It also demonstrates the farcical depths to which proceedings at NSG have sunk.
On Friday, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee said India remained committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. Reports from Vienna said the statement was praised at NSG and may have gone some way in assuaging countries opposed to a waiver on nuclear commerce with India.
Indian attempts to seek a waiver at NSG comes after it signed a civilian nuclear deal with the US and agreed to inspections of its civil nuclear reactors by the International Atomic Energy Agency. These steps entail serious controls to ensure that India won’t be able to divert nuclear materials for military purposes. This seems to be insufficient to convince these countries of Indian intentions. Things may or may not swing India’s way, but these events demonstrate that these countries want India to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty irrespective of the country’s impeccable nuclear record.