Mehul Kar

June 10, 2016

A Brief History of Nuclear Diplomacy

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I learned some things about nuclear power and international relations today.

There’s this thing called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). NSG is a club of countries that are allowed to produce and trade nuclear technology.

There’s also this thing called the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). NPT is an agreement that delineates which countries are allowed to produce nuclear weapons. It was signed in 1968 and the point of it was to say “Hey, nuclear weapons are probably bad and we shouldn’t make them any more, but here’s all the people who already have it, so they’re ok.”

So that all sounds good.

But caveat!

A few countries, namely including India and Pakistan, did not sign the NPT.

And they both make nuclear weapons.

So India’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Narender Modi, is campaigning the world to let India be in the NSG so they can legitimately produce and trade nuclear goods and also gain some street cred for being in the club. And most of the world, including the US, is fine with it.

Except China, Austria and New Zealand.

Austria and New Zealand are holding out on moral grounds because NSG was meant to be an absolute list, etc etc.

China is allies with Pakistan–who also has nuclear weapons, also didn’t sign NPT and also wants to be in the NSG.

China doesn’t want India to get the same nuclear status as them, because China and India don’t really get along, so they’re making the argument that India can get into NSG only if Pakistan also gets into the NSG. But there isn’t much support for Pakistan to be in in the NSG.

The US has been advocating for India on this NSG effort for a while now, but mostly so they can have some leverage against China.

So for now, things seem to be at a stalemate.

Quite the game of thrones, if you ask me.

Credit for all the knowledge: Samihan Yedkar.