New Zealand’s misplaced opposition at the NSG

Neither India’s nuclear weapons programme nor its nuclear power projects will be to New Zealand’s detriment

Regarding the proceedings at the Nuclear Suppliers Group where small states like New Zealand have shown reluctance to admit India into the nuclear mainstream, here’s what an astute and knowledgeable person said in an email:

A broad stance against testing nuclear weapons is central to nonproliferation, however India already has a voluntary moratorium in place. As long as India perceives no immediate deterioration in its local nuclear security environment the moratorium should hold. By contrast a multilateralised commitment on testing might mislead the Pakistanis and elements of the proliferation underworld that provocative behaviour will go without a response from the Indian side. The Nuclear Supplier Group’s history of failures when it comes to checking Pakistani proliferation little by way of comfort to anyone in India.

It is difficult to imagine parallels between New Zealand’s opposition to French nuclear testing and India’s posture on nuclear testing. India has not tested any nuclear weapons in waters off New Zealand’s coast and nor does it intend to. If India does decide to conduct an atmospheric test, it would need to first withdraw from the Partial Test Ban Treaty. Such a withdrawal requires a three months notice be given to the depository countries and that should allow for enough time for New Zealand to take steps to ensure that India doesn’t just drop 20 MT on some atoll in the Southern Pacific. So what is the point of putting 50 conditions on India right now, when all New Zealand should be interested in is one condition when the time comes.

While one can argue that ensuring visible compliance of norms is the key to ensure the spread of non-proliferation ideology—one can also examine any gains on this front against losses from criminalising routine commerce. India’s energy needs are well known at this stage and every nuclear energy company in the world wants to access that market. By keeping the barriers at the Nuclear Suppliers Group artificially high—a large volume of trade is forced underground. In light of the peculiar auditing practices followed by NSG members states when keeping track of the A Q Khan network, one might ask if excessive regulation created circumstances ideal for putting nuclear weapons into the hands of terrorists?

With an increased dependence on carbon fuels in India will produce enough greenhouse gases to make nightmare scenarios on global warming a reality. Blocking India’s path to nuclear energy seems like sensible alternative to some non-proliferation pundits, but then most of them live in countries with plenty of high ground. Surely, a small country like New Zealand can be expected to take a different view the perils of rising water levels.

9 thoughts on “New Zealand’s misplaced opposition at the NSG”

  1. “With an increased dependence on carbon fuels in India will produce enough greenhouse gases to make nightmare scenarios on global warming a reality. Blocking India’s path to nuclear energy seems like sensible alternative to some non-proliferation pundits, but then most of them live in countries with plenty of high ground.”

    Even though I do not personally think that global warming will result in any nightmare scenarios, but I do think that is the best PR/diplomacy line to take with these small “idealist” countries. You don’t give us uranium, and then you want us to control emissions – kidding, right?

  2. The new page design sucks because the width of each line has decreased.

    In fact I suggest giving the reader the option of choosing the “style-sheet” – say links to “format 1”, “format 2” “format 3” on the page, and the same content will appear in “format 1”, “format 2” or “format 3” depending on which of these links the user clicks.

    Of course this is a humble suggestion, and not a “demand for incisive action” πŸ™‚

  3. This deal is less about energy and environment as about the world accepting India’s hard-fought status as a global power. Regardless of the merits of deal, this is what India wants and those who stand in our way are more enemies than friends

    Nuclear deal or no nuclear deal, India will do just fine

    However, were this deal to fall through due to intransigence of the insignificant six, we’d better be prepared to make their choice a very expensive one

    This is a test of India’s mettle — let’s quit trying to justify why the deal is good and focus on who is with us and who is not

    Best regards

  4. I like the old design the main content is at the centre of the page and other stuffs at either side. This new design is causing some uneasiness to the reader as they have to slightly turn their head.

  5. High time we responded properly to New Zealand’s stupid moves at the NSG. The government should not allow the Indian cricket team to tour New Zealand (March & April 2009). That’ll cause a significant dent in the New Zealand cricket board’s balance sheet. BCCI can afford the $1 million fine. Just who the (@#k do they think they are? At least, by not going to NZ, we can ensure that the cricketers don’t get ambushed on pathetically prepared pitches like last time πŸ™‚

    Maybe we can use trade as a deterrent. Perhaps not (it’s only $650 million!).

  6. New template feedback: Looks just fine on Firefox 2 and 3 to me. The top logo-thingie (with ‘the acorn’ written inside a soft rectangle) could do with some work though.

  7. Looks nice with the new format. The box around the logo on top looks dorky though. Accentuating that text and removing the box might just do the trick. thanks for hearing my unsolicited opinion. πŸ˜‰

  8. Happy to add that The Acorn looks fine in the all-new Google Chrome as well (including in its ‘incognito’ mode).

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