Does India’s poor nuclear proliferation record merit NSG slot ?

29 Jun

ISLAMABAD, June 21 (APP): Director General South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) Islamabad Dr Maria Sultan Tuesday said Pakistan’s credentials for the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) were much stronger than India.
Addressing the participants of a round table discussion titled “Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – Criteria Based Approach and it’s Implication on High-Tech Trade: A case for Pakistan membership,” she said India’s non-proliferation record was not as clean as it had been claiming.
India, she said, had a long history of thefts of nuclear material and mishaps or near accidents at its nuclear facilities.
According to a 1996 report made available to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Indian nuclear facilities have had 130 instances of safety related concerns, of which 95 required urgent action.
While as per an Indian parliamentary report, as many as 147 mishaps or security related occurrences were reported in Indian atomic energy plants between 1995 and 1998.
In July 1998, Indian Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) uncovered a theft racket of uranium in Tamil Nadu. “Of the eight kg seized, 6 kg was weapons grade unenriched uranium,” she added.
Maria Sultan said one of the most glaring examples was the 1974 nuclear explosion itself, for which India diverted nuclear fuel from Canadian reactors, supplied for peaceful and civilian use to conduct a nuclear weapons test.
Ironically, she said, the NSG was created in the wake of this explosion specifically aimed at preventing the diversion of civil nuclear technology for military purposes in future.
On May 1, 2000, Mumbai police seized 8.3 kilogram uranium from scrap dealers which originated from the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), said to be depleted but radioactive, she said adding, “leftist guerrillas in Northeast India illegally obtained uranium ore from a government-run milling complex and strapped it to high explosives to make a crude bomb before they were caught by the police.”
An incident in October 2014 raised fresh concerns over the safety of Indian nuclear facilities when a person of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is assigned to protect India’s nuclear facilities and weapons related materials and installations, opened fire and killed several people in the very facility he was assigned to protect.
According to the 2014 NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index, which assesses the security of nuclear materials around the world, India scores below Pakistan, and is ranked only above North Korea and Iran.
Whereas, there was no major lapse on part of Pakistan as it over the years has strengthened safety and security of its nuclear power plants and installations, she said.
After the nuclear incident of Fukushima in 2011, Pakistan carried out complete assessment of its own nuclear power plants and facilities, she said.
In response to any threat, the DG SASSI said, “Pakistan has revisited safety parameters, emergency preparedness and response, and operators’ training protocols and procedures.”
Maria Sultan said in the ongoing meeting of NSG in Seoul about 12 members out of the 48-member cartel, were against Indian membership due to the reasons mentioned above.
“No membership can be granted if even a single member opposes it,” she remarked.
Interestingly, she said, all the members were not nuclear power states but they had been given access to nuclear and high-technology products for the peaceful purpose.

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