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‘Natural to have differences’: China hopes for better ties with India in 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China hopes for better ties with India in 2017 by resolving differences over India’s admission into elite Nuclear Suppliers Group and listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as terrorist by the UN as the two nations signed off their most engaging year bogged down by the twin issues.”This year has seen a steady development of China-India relations, with the two countries marching towards the goal of building a more closely-knit partnership for development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said summing up Beijing’s perception of the outgoing year and its vision of Sino-Indian ties for the next year.”The leadership of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts” despite the differences, she said, referring to a number of meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at multilateral foras like G-20 and BRICS summit.
ALSO READ Won’t prejudge Chinese action on UN resolution on Masood Azhar: IndiaShe said that the dialogues and consultations have been going on in an orderly fashion at all levels and practical cooperation in various fields has been carried out steadily.”As close neighbours, it is natural for our two big countries to have differences, and we have been exploring ways to resolve them through diplomatic channels. The main theme of China-India relations remains friendship and cooperation,” she said, holding out hope for a more fruitful year for bilateral ties next year with the resolution of the two major issues.
ALSO READ UK reaffirms support to India’s bid for UNSC, NSG membership”For the year 2017, China would like to work with India for better implementation of the important consensus reached between the leadership, greater political mutual trust, wider mutually beneficial cooperation and properly management of differences so as to ensure a sustained and steady development of China-India relations,” she said.The strength of the deep diplomatic engagement between the two sides virtually begins with the New Year as China’s second “technical hold” on India’s application for listing Azhar as terrorist under UN’s 1267 Committee will expire on December 31, opening a new window for both the countries to address the issue which cast a shadow on Beijing s claim to fight terrorism in all forms as the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad is already listed by the UN as terror group.With the end of the second technical hold by China, India is expected to submit a fresh application backed by a charge sheet filed recently by the National Investigation Agency against Azhar for his involvement in the Pathankot terror attack.The charge sheet was expected to further reinforce India’s case for a UN ban against Azhar. Other members of the Committee including UNSC permanent members, US, Russia, France and UK had backed it earlier.Indian officials hope that the charge sheet provides strong basis for the case for China to take a relook as Beijing in the past argued that sufficient evidence has not been provided.”Listing in the 1267 Committee must be in line with the relevant resolutions of the UNSC and the rules of procedure of the Committee,” Hua had said, replying to question on Azhar’s issue days after NIA filed charge sheet.On India s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group too Indian and Chinese officials hope for a way out next year as China, after blocking India’s bid, began an exercise to work out a “non-discriminatory formula” to admit new members.It is unclear yet whether a formula can be worked out where the other members of the NSG will agree for admission of China’s close ally Pakistan, whose record in nuclear proliferation during the time of its disgraced nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan will be a stumbling block.China is advocating a two step approach for admission of countries who have not signed nuclear-Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the NSG. As per the new stand announced by Beijing last month, it first wants to find a solution that is applicable to the admission of all non-NPT members followed by discussions to admit specific non-NPT member.Indian officials say it will make it another engaging year in Sino-Indian diplomacy on both Azhar and NSG fronts and hope that it would not be a futile exercise as happened this year.However, even after the resolution of the two issues, the larger issues like the USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remain. Modi himself raised this issue with Xi during their meeting at the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September.Significantly, as the year draws to a close, Lt Gen Amir Riaz, Commander of the Pakistan’s Southern Command which is based in Quetta, asked India to “shun enmity” with Pakistan and “join the USD 46-billion CPEC along with Iran, Afghanistan and other Central Asian countries and enjoy its benefits”.Chinese officials say Riaz’s comments are significant as they point to the backing of the Pakistan army.Hua said China is open for such a proposal and wondered “what is India s take on this whether this is a good sign from Pakistan”.While relations appears to have been bogged down over the NSG, Azhar and CEPC which involves Pakistan, officials on both sides say that 2016 was an year of deep engagement between both the countries covering almost all aspects of the relations including the military.

Govt toughens guidelines for social media use in CAPFs, stipulates legal action on violations

New Delhi: With smart phones making huge proliferation in ranks of security forces, the government has issued fresh guidelines for regulating sharing of secret operational and service data on such platforms involving troops and officers of central paramilitary forces, violation of which will invite “strict legal action”.

The three-page guidelines, issued by the Home Ministry recently and notified to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) headquarters in New Delhi, speak specifically of instances where force personnel have used personal cell phones to click pictures of an ongoing or concluded ambush or operation which later finds it way on media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and others.

The directives state that these are a reiteration and enhancement of the existing directives in this regard, but address some specific issues.

Representational image. Reuters.Representational image. Reuters.

Representational image. Reuters.

The latest order by the Union Home Ministry said there was a “strong need” to issue the do’s and dont’s afresh as it “has come to the notice of government that there have been instances where mobile phones and cameras of force personnel have been used for operational coverage and sensitive material was uploaded on social media without official permission.”

The fresh directives stipulate legal action against defaulting personnel.

“Any such photo, video, among others are meant strictly for official use only and any unauthorised disclosure of confidential operations related information by uploading operational material onto social media sites is a serious breach of rules and may lead to charges being laid against offending force employees,” the guidelines, accessed by PTI, said.

However, senior officials in these forces pointed out a loophole in this directive, saying in a number of operations multiple agencies like state police and army are involved and as these guidelines are not applicable on them, there could still be chances and instances of an information breach and subsequent sharing of multimedia on Internet-based social media platforms.

The guidelines add that “divulging” of such information on social media without permission of competent authority is “against National Information Security Policy and guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and government”.

The brief guidelines do not make it amply clear what is to be released and what is to be held back during operations and even what construes to be an operational activity, officials said, citing an instance mentioned in the new directives which state that videos of training drills of these men and women “discloses methodology” of forces which “directly compromise safety of officers and men in operations.”

The guidelines have also mandated that the respective chiefs (Directors General) of these forces like the Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Security Guard (NSG) will be the authorities mandated to clear release of pictures, videos, text and other information on “operations and other service matters” on social media either via the official handles of these forces or directly to the media (journalists).

The guidelines, framed after a number of meetings were held between senior officials of these forces and the Union Home Ministry in the last few months, stipulate that only official force cameras and recorders should be used to capture any picture or video of a captured or neutralised terrorist/militant and seizures of arms and ammunition made by them.

It adds that in case when official cameras or recorders are not available at the encounter spot and private cameras or cellphones are used in the aftermath of an operation it”should immediately be surrendered to the appropriate authority for official use with clearances of appropriate levels and then thereafter ensured that the same has been deleted from the private camera/smartphone among others.”

The new guidelines conclude that any violations of these points or any other standing order in this regard will invite “strict action against defaulters under the existing laws and rules.”

All the CAPFs, except NSG, now have their Twitter and Facebook handles and they post general information about the activities in their respective domains after obtaining clearances from the top command.

Officials estimate that over 75 percent of troops in these forces now have smartphones which can capture pictures and videos with good clarity.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 16:17 IST

Pakistan wary of NSG ‘exemption’ for India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan is wary of powerful countries pressurising smaller nations to exempt India in the admission process to the NSG and feels that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistan’s application was not treated equally with that of India.Pakistani official suspect that powerful countries could force the smaller partners to support India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership bid despite a growing realisation for a criteria-based approach for joining the 48-member elite grouping. “We are pretty confident that NSG countries would not go down the exemption way, but if they ultimately do so and give exemption to India,” Director General of Disarmament at the Foreign Office Kamran Akhtar said while speaking at a workshop on ‘Defence, Deterrence and Stability’ in South Asia. “…There would be serious repercussions not just for Pakistan, but also for other non-nuclear weapon states that may feel being unjustly denied their right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” he said.At the same time, Pakistani officials feel encouraged by growing support in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for establishing criteria for membership of non-NPT countries, Dawn reported. “There are a lot of countries that now recognise the need for a criteria-based approach rather than granting exemptions, but pressures are still being exerted on smaller countries,” he said.The workshop was jointly organised by Islamabad-based think-tank Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) and London?s International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).Last month in Vienna NSG members, for the second time in a year, failed to reach consensus on the admission of non-NPT countries. The NSG members have been divided between countries demanding strict adherence to the NPT criteria and the bloc wanting to embrace India immediately.A growing support within NSG has been noted for developing criteria for non-NPT states and the Chinese proposal for a two-step approach for new admissions which involves developing criteria in the first stage and then inviting applications for the membership. He said it was now up to NSG countries to decide if they wanted the group to be seen as being driven by political and commercial interests or else they would want non-proliferation goals to be strengthened.The official warned that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistani application was not treated equally with that of India.Pakistan has been pushing for its membership in the group by adopting a uniform criteria for any new country to join NSG despite US backing for India to join through a selective wavier of conditions.Foreign Office’s Additional Secretary Tasneem Aslam said the issue of membership of non-NPT countries was deeply linked to strategic stability in South Asia. “Today, the NSG stands at crossroads, once again, as it considers membership for non-NPT states. An even-handed and non-discriminatory approach by the NSG at this juncture would be of far-reaching significance for strategic stability in South Asia and global non-proliferation efforts,” she said.

How will PM Modi tackle China, asks Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress Party on Tuesday asked how Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tackle China after it categorically stated that it will not change its position on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers? Group or on designating Masood Azhar as a terrorist.”China’s adamant attitude on the issue of infamous terrorist Masood Azhar and India entry into the NSG is worrisome,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said.”The country wants to know how the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tackle this issue,” he added.He further questioned as to why the Indian government not taking a tough stand on this and why the Prime Minister is unable to talk to his Chinese counterpart about the same.Surjewala asked, “India is a responsible nuclear power, then, why is China objecting to its membership? And, how will you (India) gather other countries on your side.”On Monday, China said there was no shift in its position either on New Delhi’s inclusion in the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or on imposition of UN sanctions on the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Masood Azhar.

Sartaj Aziz says ‘credible minimum deterrence’ needed for stability in Indo-Pak relations

Islamabad: Amid rising Indo-Pak tensions, Pakistan on Tuesday said “credible minimum deterrence” was needed for regional stability and warned that instability has consequences with “far more dangers”.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the imperative of strategic stability was an important dimension of Pakistan-India relations.

“There is need for credible minimum deterrence as instability has consequences with far more dangers,” he said while addressing an international conference on ‘Strengthening Peace and Cooperation in South Asia: Incentives and Constraints’ organised by Islamabad Policy Research Institute.

Aziz claimed that Pakistan is maintaining “minimum nuclear deterrence” for peace and stability in the region and called upon the international community to desist from policies and actions that undermine strategic stability in South Asia.

He stated that supply of weapon systems widens the existing conventional capabilities in the region.

File photo of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

File photo of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

Aziz regretted that the world has not fully recognised the dangers posed to the peace and stability in the region.

On the Kashmir issue, Aziz was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan that, “India was responding to indigenous struggle of Kashmiris for their right of self-determination by denial and illusion.”

He criticised India for terming the “Kashmiri struggle” as terrorism and declaring Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part.

“India must understand ground realities and recognise the indigenous nature of right to self-determination movement” in Kashmir, he was quoted as saying.

Aziz said during negotiations with India, Pakistan would continue to seek normalisation of relationship and promoting steps that would pave the way for settlement of all lingering disputes including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

On the NSG issue, Aziz called for criteria-based and non-discriminatory approach for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), asserting that otherwise it will affect the strategic stability in the region.

He said Pakistan’s application for NSG membership should be evaluated on the basis of fair criterion.

Aziz regretted India’s opposition to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, saying it is based on “no apparent reason”.

Aziz alleged that India is doing so to obstruct Pakistan’s path towards progress and development.

He claimed that the “Indian hegemonic temptations” and aggressive posture undermine regional cooperation.

Aziz said Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence based on mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity but at the same time it cannot remain aloof from the prevailing situation in the region.

He accused India of “sponsoring and fomenting” terrorism in Pakistan. Aziz also alleged that India had increased violations along the Line of Control to put constraints on Pakistan’s ability to deploy more troops on the western border.

First Published On : Nov 22, 2016 17:27 IST

India’s No First Use policy on nuclear weapons ‘ambiguous’: Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Friday described as “ambiguous” India’s ‘No First Use’ policy on nuclear weapons and said it cannot be a substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures, days Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar questioned the doctrine.”Pakistan believes the ambiguous ‘No First Use’ Declaration is not verifiable and amounts to nothing. It can’t be a substitute for verifiable arms control and restraint measures proposed by Pakistan’s standing offer of Strategic Restraint Regime,” Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said in his weekly briefing. He was responding to the recent remarks by Parrikar in which he asked why India cannot say “we are a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly” instead of affirming a “no first use policy”. Later he had said the remarks were personal in nature.Zakaria said statement by the defence minister of a country that repeatedly and constantly heightens tension and maintains an aggressive posture should be a matter of concern for all. He said signing of nuclear deals by some countries is a matter of concern as it is only reinforcing arrogance and belligerence with which India conducts itself in the region and beyond, in an indirect reference to Indo-Japan nuclear deal.Zakaria also said Pakistan established itself as a serious candidate for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), increasing number of countries were supporting the non-discriminatory approach.”There is also growing recognition of the fact that 2008 exemption to India neither benefited non-proliferation regime nor objective of strategic stability in South Asia,” he said.The spokesman expressed the confidence that members of the NSG would bear in mind the need to prevent further erosion of non-proliferation regime and preserving credibility of the NSG as a rule-based organisation. He said Pakistan has expressed its openness to measures for strengthening non-proliferation objectives to the NSG, which included proposal for binding bilateral agreement with India on non-testing.

India’s NSG bid: China sticks to tough stand; calls for ‘non-discriminatory’, applicable solution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China, which has been blocking India’s NSG bid, on Tuesday maintained its tough stand on the issue and called for a two-step “non-discriminatory” solution to admit non-NPT members into the 48-member elite grouping.China’s remarks came as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its meeting in Vienna November 11 discussed a formula acting on India’s application to join it.”We maintain that we should follow two-step approach. First we should find out a solution that is applicable to all non-NPT members applications to the NSG through consultations and discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here outlining China’s stand at the Vienna meeting.The second step is to discuss specific non-NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) members’ admission into the NSG, he said.”We believe that the solution should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT members and it must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT,” he said.”We hope that we can enter into the second step after finishing the first step at an early date which is to talk about specific non-NPT members joining the NSG,” he said.China’s stand for a non-discriminatory criteria is regarded significant as Pakistan, a close ally of Beijing too has applied for the NSG membership along with India.China, which has blocked earlier India’s entry on the ground that India has not signed the NPT, has held two rounds of talks with India and Pakistan about their admission into the group.India has secured the backing of the US and majority of the NSG members based on its non-proliferation record in comparison to Pakistan which faced serious allegations of nuclear proliferation in the past specially with regard to its nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan.Geng said at the Vienna meeting of the NSG, members talked about the technical, legal and political matters relating non-NPT members accession to the NSG.He said this is the first time the group talked about entry of the new members.Earlier a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “It is the first time a discussion, not only since the Seoul Plenary, but also since the NSG’s inception in 1975, for the Group to formally take up the issue of non-NPT states’ participation in an open and transparent manner”.Geng said the discussion about the entry of new members is a “good start”.”We believe it is good start and we will continue to support the NSG in following through on the first step and explore the final solution at an early date,” he said.India has been maintaining that NPT membership was not essential for joining the NSG, as was the case with France.

China maintains tough stand on India’s NSG bid, calls for ‘non-discriminatory’ solution

Beijing: China, which has been blocking India’s NSG bid, on Tuesday maintained its tough stand on the issue and called for a two-step “non-discriminatory” solution to admit non-NPT members into the 48-member elite grouping.

China’s remarks came as the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at its meeting in Vienna on 11 November discussed a formula acting on India’s application to join it.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“We maintain that we should follow two-step approach. First, we should find out a solution that is applicable to all non-NPT members applications to the NSG through consultations and discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing outlining China’s stand at the Vienna meeting.

The second step is to discuss specific non-NPT (Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty) members’ admission into the NSG, he said.

“We believe that the solution should be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT members and it must not damage the core value of the NSG as well as the authority, effectiveness and integrity of the NPT,” he said.

“We hope that we can enter into the second step after finishing the first step at an early date which is to talk about specific non-NPT members joining the NSG,” he said.

China’s stand for a non-discriminatory criteria is regarded significant as Pakistan, a close ally of Beijing too has applied for the NSG membership along with India. China, which has blocked earlier India’s entry on the ground that India has not signed the NPT, has held two rounds of talks with India and Pakistan about their admission into the group.

India has secured the backing of the US and majority of the NSG members based on its non-proliferation record in comparison to Pakistan which faced serious allegations of nuclear proliferation in the past specially with regard to its nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan.

Geng said at the Vienna meeting of the NSG, members talked about the technical, legal and political matters relating non-NPT members accession to the NSG.

He said this is the first time the group talked about entry of the new members.

Earlier a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, “It is the first time a discussion, not only since the Seoul Plenary, but also since the NSG’s inception in 1975, for the Group to formally take up the issue of non-NPT states’ participation in an open and transparent manner.”

Geng said the discussion about the entry of new members is a “good start”.

“We believe it is good start and we will continue to support the NSG in following through on the first step and explore the final solution at an early date,” he said.

India has been maintaining that NPT membership was not essential for joining the NSG, as was the case with France.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 15:04 IST

Indo-Japan civil nuclear deal: Despite the anti-nuclear test stance, it’s a win-win for all

PM Narendra Modi and Japan's PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan. ReutersPM Narendra Modi and Japan's PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

PM Narendra Modi and Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe during a joint press conference at Abe’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

India and Japan, at last, signed an agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Both countries took several rounds of negotiations, which helped resolve several sticky issues. Though only limited information has been released by the two governments, a media briefing of the Indian foreign secretary made several issues clear.

The joint document signed by the two countries lays down a roadmap for bilateral cooperation in the field of nuclear energy. “This would provide for the development of nuclear power projects in India and thus strengthening of energy security of the country. The present agreement would open up the door for collaboration between Indian and Japanese industries in our Civil Nuclear programme,” it says.

But cutting the deal wasn’t easy. There were several questions and concerns raised in the past that delayed the agreement. Some of those concerns remain afloat in both the countries, though they aren’t necessarily of the same nature.

Some in Japan argued that a nuclear agreement with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), will undermine the nuclear regime. The reality is that India received a clean exemption in the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2008 and the CTBT is in a coma. Instead, India has been extending a moratorium on its nuclear test, and this is far more relevant than merely signing a non-existent treaty. Besides, India has an impeccable record, and all of its nuclear cooperation agreements are accompanied by the relevant safeguard practices. So, there is no question of diversion of any item supplied for peaceful purposes to a military programme.

The point that a victim of the nuclear attack would find it difficult to sign a peaceful nuclear programme was intriguing. More so, the fact that idea came from a country, which is enjoying nuclear protective umbrella (and till the Fukushima Accident had used nuclear energy to generate about 30% of the country’s total electricity production), was definitely bizarre. Even the serious section of the Japanese policy making community found it non-serious and basically a deal-delaying ploy.

The argument that for a country that has stopped using nuclear energy and operating nuclear reactors, it is unethical to export them did have some merit. But the moment Japan started operating some of its reactors and decided to eventually operate its non-operational reactors and add a few more, even this ethical resistance evaporated. However, a section that opposes nuclear energy all over the world kept clinging to this argument.

Other than the ethical and non-proliferation concerns, there were some practical commercial concerns of the Japanese nuclear industry, a major driver for the India-Japan nuclear deal. As the Indian nuclear establishment was basically interested in Japanese technology, not in its reactors, Japanese industry did not find it commercially lucrative to enter into the Indian nuclear market.

It was only when India agreed to buy reactors that the Japanese nuclear industry started seriously working on the deal. Now, it will have to partner with one of the Indian operators like the Nuclear Power Corporation India Limited. A Japanese company, however, will still have less than 50 percent ownership in a nuclear venture. For a short period, Japanese industry also wanted a solution to the nuclear liability issue.

Moreover, Japanese officials wanted proper assurance regarding export control enforcement and outreach for the Indian companies receiving the Japanese goods. India has completely harmonised its export control system along the NSG guidelines and annexes. Besides, India increased its outreach activities for its companies. Some Japanese companies have also started giving export control training to employees of the Indian companies, which are receiving its goods.

In India, too, there were some concerns, and to a certain extent, they exist even now as the two governments have not provided details of the agreement. The India-US 123 agreement is a somewhat detailed document available in the public domain. However, the press briefing of the foreign secretary, Jai Shankar sought to clear the air after the signature ceremony. He informed that all the stages of India-US agreements for civil nuclear energy were compressed in one document for the India-Japan deal.

Implicitly, the foreign secretary conveyed that the template of the 123 agreement had been taken for drafting the India-Japan agreement. Administrative arrangements for India-Japan specific would be worked out later, although the technical annexure attached to the agreement may already have some of the arrangements. But the basic parameters of the agreement would not be different.

The termination clause, one of the concerns in India, exists in the agreement. As the Indian foreign secretary rightly pointed out, it exists in most of the agreements. So, is the concern in India, that in the event of a nuclear test, the deal will be nullified, true?

Theoretically, it is possible. A termination clause exists in the India-US 123 agreement as well, though a nuclear test is not explicitly mentioned. The agreement with the US has provisions for consultation between the two countries and remedial action for India in the case of a termination. The agreement with Japan is not radically different from that.

India will continue to have its right to conduct nuclear tests if the strategic environment changes dramatically and adversely affect India’s security. In such a situation, in reality, both the US and Japan may appreciate the Indian situation. India’s security interests are fast converging with both the countries. Quite importantly, by all the assessments, the next round of nuclear tests in the world will start either with the US or China. So, India may not have much difficulty in managing the situation after its own nuclear tests, which may follow after the tests of these countries.

Regarding reprocessing, too, seemingly, the India-Japan agreement has adopted the 123 model. Reprocessing will be done at a dedicated safeguarded site. In fact, India may help Japan in reprocessing its fuel which it sends outside. Moreover, India and Japan may in the future undertake joint research and development projects.

But still, one question emerges. Why did India focus so much on entering into an agreement with Japan when so many countries were willing to do business with it and have already signed agreements for the purpose? Actually, Japan is preferred because of its reliability and trustworthiness. It is not known for imposing additionalities. Second, its technology is considered more advanced than many of the countries active in global nuclear reactor commerce.

Third, important Japanese nuclear companies have bought stakes in the companies of some of the supplier countries. An agreement with Japan will solve the issue of taking a consent from Japan for doing business with the companies of those countries. Fourth, Japan is emerging as an important strategic partner of India in managing Asian affairs. Together the two countries may push the idea of Asiatom.

Fifth, Japan, a country with advanced technology but declining population, may provide both a base and an opportunity for the Indian scientific force. It could be a win-win situation for both the countries. It is indicated that both the countries may do some innovative work on safety and security, though other countries have the similar provision in their agreements with India.

In the future, the two countries have to consolidate what they have agreed, covered and gained so far. The deal will turn out mutually beneficially for both. India will get its much-needed electricity and technological partnership and Japan will get a market for its companies which are facing a tough situation for several years even before the Fukushima incidents. Really, the sky is the limit for India and Japan in the nuclear and other strategic sectors.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 19:44 IST

India-Japan breach nuclear barrier, shift focus to geostrategic alliance

Given the weight of expectations over the civil nuclear agreement between India and Japan, it is but natural that signing of it would dominate the headlines. Yet, lopsided focus on the much-anticipated deal may undermine the depth and gamut of Indo-Japan strategic embrace that we got to witness as Narendra Modi schmoozed with Shinzo Abe in Tokyo during the annual bilateral summit.

The kumbaya on display wasn’t superficial. Ever since Modi stepped onto Japanese soil in 2014 and caught Abe in a warm embrace, Indo-Japan relationship has become stronger in scope and wider in mutual interest. The atmospherics around Modi’s visit this year, coupled with the revised global order following Donald Trump’s rise in the US have clearly put the partnership on steroids. There has never been a shortage of mutual admiration between the two leaders, but both now evidently realise that the time is ripe to take the alliance beyond the borders of shared interest and strike a greater geostrategic understanding.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. PTI

It is largely due to this compulsion that the civil nuclear agreement finally saw the light of day after breaking a six-year-old shackle of hesitancy, which Japan as the sole victim of nuclear weapons had to get over after working through a minefield of domestic ethical boundaries in inking such a deal with a non-NPT signatory country in India.

But it still happened, and came about at an opportune moment for India, which now has the ability to exploit the success of this deal and enjoy a greater moral authority in calling for a berth in the exclusive NSG club, members of which are shortly going to ponder over India’s inclusion during a meeting in Vienna. Japan backed India’s candidacy and ensured that four stages of the entire deal was squeezed into a single agreement unlike with the US where signing of the 123 agreement in 2007 was followed by NSG clearance in 2008, reprocessing in 2010, and inking of the administrative arrangements in 2015.

This deal will also make it more difficult for China to keep India out of the NSG club because terms of the civil nuclear deal with Japan, de facto brings India within the NPT framework. The “termination and cessation clause” built within the agreement permits signatories to stop nuclear cooperation in case India conducts nuclear tests and hence the need for NPT is much reduced.

Foreign policy isn’t built on the bedrock of friendship but shared mutual interests. If Abe walked an extra mile to ensure signing of the agreement, it may have something to do with the decreased domestic demand, since the 2011 Fukushima disaster that is forcing Japan’s nuclear industry to increasingly look for markets abroad. Close on the heels of Vietnam scuppering a deal, the agreement with India gives Prime Minister Abe the necessary breathing space.

It is this dovetailing of interest that came through as India and Japan jotted nine other agreements and then in the joint declaration, proceeded to address the $10 trillion gorilla in the room — China.

Right from the moment that Modi set about in his journey, the dragon’s shadow loomed large. China’s nervousness about a greater Indo-Japanese synergy has remained latent, but this time the gloves were off as its state-controlled media came out with a scathing series of editorials, nakedly warning India against toeing Japan’s line on South China Sea and issuing an open threat that were such a thing to happen, New Delhi will stand to greatly lose by way of trade and commercial relations.

In the intriguing world of foreign policy, such naked threats are more a signal of nervousness than strength. India and Japan both understand this, and therefore Modi and Abe’s joint statement pressed down hard on Beijing’s South China Sea wound, making no bones about the fact any maritime or territorial disputes must be solved without the “use of force” and in accord with UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for free and fair navigation and commerce.

Ever since Modi stepped onto Japanese soil in 2014 and caught Abe in a warm embrace, Indo-Japan relationship has become stronger in scope and wider in mutual interest

India and Japan, read the statement, “urged all parties to resolve disputes through peaceful means without resorting to threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, and avoid unilateral actions that raise tensions… Regarding the South China Sea, the two prime ministers stressed the importance of resolving the disputes by peaceful means, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the UNCLOS.”

For a country that regularly provokes Japan over the Senkaku islets and claims almost whole of South China Sea through a self-styled “nine-dash line” in flagrant violation of the Hague tribunal ruling, China would quite possibly be furious with India’s stand. So far, Modi has shown himself to be insular to threats and his ‘look East policy’ is a barely concealed effort to balance China’s many machinations.

Similarly, the confrontational stance taken by both India and Japan vis-à-vis Beijing is the greatest indication that both countries now want to extend their partnership between the booming trade and share economic interests into a greater geostrategic alliance. China is aware of such a curve in India and Japan’s trajectory. A recent editorial in China’s state-controlled Global Times elaborates on a “strategic diamond” that Japan is trying to engineer along with India, Australia and the US.

“For Japan and India, technological cooperation will enhance their cooperation in security, a critical way for Japan to contain China’s growing strength. At the beginning of his term, Abe envisaged a strategic diamond involving the US, Japan, Australia and India, and attempted to draw India over to his side so as to encircle China. In the second half of the year, he invited the top leaders of a number of countries to visit Japan, many of them China’s neighbors. India is relatively powerful, and is of vital importance to Abe’s strategic diamond. Therefore, Japan has made particular efforts to enhance its diplomatic ties with India.

One crucial arm of this “strategic diamond”, US, may fall off the radar with conjecture gaining ground that Trump might make America look a lot more inwards and reduce its strategic footprint in Asia. If that happens, Asia’s fate will depend on how quickly and effectively India and Japan balance out China’s assertive territorial and geopolitical ambitions. Modi and Abe have shown a good understanding of this changed reality.

First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 17:02 IST

Full text of PM Modi’s statement on his visit to Japan

India and Japan on Friday signed 10 pacts covering a range of areas such as boosting Japanese investment in infrastructure, railways, and for cooperation in space and agriculture, as part of agreements to bolster bilateral ties.

Furthermore, making an exception, Japan also signed a historic civil nuclear cooperation deal with India, opening the door for collaboration between their industries in the field.

Friends,

Mina-Sama, Komban Wa!

A Zen Buddhist saying in Japanese says – “Ichigo Ichie” , which means that our every meeting is unique and we must treasure every moment.

I have visited Japan many times, and this is my second visit as Prime Minister. And, every visit has been unique, special, educative and deeply rewarding.

I have met Excellency Abe on many occasions in Japan, India and around the world. I have also had the privilege of receiving several high level Japanese political and business leaders in India in the last couple of years.

The frequency of our interaction demonstrates the drive, dynamism and depth of our ties. It also reflects our continuing commitment to realize the full potential of our Special Strategic and Global Partnership.

Friends, In our conversation today, Prime Minister Abe and I took stock of the progress in our ties since the last Summit. It is clear to both of us that our cooperation has progressed on multiple fronts.

Deeper economic engagement, growth of trade, manufacturing and investment ties, focus on clean energy, partnership to secure our citizens, and cooperation on infrastructure and skill development are among our key priorities.

Today’s signing of the Agreement for Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy marks a historic step in our engagement to build a clean energy partnership.

Our cooperation in this field will help us combat the challenge of Climate Change. I also acknowledge the special significance that such an agreement has for Japan.

I thank Prime Minister Abe the Japanese government and the Parliament for their support to this agreement.

Friends,

India and its economy are pursuing many transformations. Our aim is to become a major centre for manufacturing, investments and for the twenty-first century knowledge industries.

And, in this journey, we see Japan as a natural partner. We believe there is vast scope to combine our relative advantages, whether of capital, technology or human resources, to work for mutual benefit.

In terms of specific projects, we remain focused on making strong progress on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project. Our engagement and agreement on cooperation in the financial sector will help us in accessing greater resources for infrastructure development.

Our dialogue in regard to training and skills development has broken new ground and is an important component of our economic partnership. We are also shaping new partnerships in areas such as space science, marine, and earth science, textiles, sports, agriculture and postal banking.

Friends,

Our strategic partnership is not only for the good and security of our own societies. It also brings peace, stability, and balance to the region. It is alive and responsive to emerging opportunities and challenges in Asia-Pacific.

As countries with an inclusive outlook, we have agreed to cooperate closely to promote connectivity, infrastructure and capacity-building in the regions that occupy the inter-linked waters of the Indo-Pacific.

The successful Malabar naval exercise has underscored the convergence in our strategic interests in the broad expanse of the waters of the Indo-Pacific.

As democracies, we support openness, transparency and the rule of law. We are also united in our resolve to combat the menace of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism.

Friends,

The relations between our two countries are blessed by deep cultural and people to people ties. During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to India in December last year, I had committed to take steps to create basis for their further expansion.

And, as a result, since March 2016 we extended ‘Visa-On Arrival’ facility to all Japanese nationals. We have also gone a step further in extending a long-term 10-year visa facility to eligible Japanese business persons.

Friends,
v India and Japan also consult and cooperate closely in regional and international fora. We will continue to work together for reforms of the United Nations and strive together for our rightful place in the UN Security Council.

I wish to thank Prime Minister Abe for the support extended for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Excellency Abe,

We both recognize that the future of our partnership is rich and robust. There is no limit to the scope and scale of what we can do together, for ourselves and for the region.

And, a key reason for this is your strong and dynamic leadership. It is indeed a privilege to be your partner and friend. I wish to thank you for the most valuable outcomes of this Summit, and for your generous welcome and hospitality.

Anata No O Motenashi O Arigato Gozaimashita!
(Thank you for your kind hospitality!)

Thank you, Thank you very much.

Manohar Parrikar’s ‘personal’ remark against ‘no first use’ nuclear policy can harm India

At a time when a large section of the Indian media has spoken about hyper-nationalism while another section is guilty of it, when relations between India and Pakistan are already tense, and merely a day before a special meeting to consider the criterion for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday expressed his ‘personal opinion’ that India should not bind itself a ‘no first use policy’ on nuclear weapons.

Explaining the need to be unpredictable in warfare strategy, Parrikar had said, “Why should I bind myself? I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly. This is my (personal) thinking.”

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The ‘no first use’ (NFU) policy is the principle adopted by a nuclear power to not use nuclear weapons unless first attacked by nuclear weapons by another country. India had declared an NFU policy following the nuclear weapons test in 1998.

“It has not changed in the government. It is my concept. As an individual, I also get a feeling. I am not saying you have to use it first. Hoax can be called off,” PTI had quoted the minister as saying. He also added that prior to the surgical strike, the Pakistani defence minister used to threaten India with the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“From the day the surgical strike happened, no threat has come. They realised that we can do something which is not well-defined,” he pointed out.

It is true that Pakistan does not have an NFU policy. But if Parrikar was trying to suggest that Pakistani aggression has reduced after the surgical strikes, one only needs to consider the simple fact that out of the 151 incidents of ceasefire violations across the Line of Control this year, 110 of them have taken place since September. Moreover, over half of these violations took place after the surgical strikes, according to The Indian Express.

That is far from Parrikar’s description of “no threat”. If anything, Pakistani aggression has only increased after the surgical strikes.

There are many good reasons why the government has distanced itself from Parrikar’s personal opinion. In fact, this is perhaps the best evidence to show how erroneous and ill-timed the defence minister’s opinion was. The government was forced to resort to damage control and stress on how it did not agree with that opinion.

But Parrikar should realise that he is, after all, the defence minister of the country and his opinion will have an impact on how the world perceives India. His ‘personal opinion’ has already led to some consequences, with The News International (a Pakistani daily), misinterpreting his remark and publishing a report titled ‘India going back on ‘no-first-use nuke’ stance‘.

Here’s why Parrikar’s remark on the NFU policy can damage India’s reputation:

Government’s support to NFU policy

Before the Lok Sabha polls, BJP in its manifesto had made a pledge to “study in detail India’s nuclear doctrine, and revise and update it, to make it relevant to challenges of current times”, causing worry that BJP would go back on the 18-year NFU policy if it came to power.

However, the then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had made it clear that “No first use was a great initiative of Atal Bihari Vajpayee — there is no compromise on that. We are very clear. No first use is a reflection of our cultural inheritance.” Rajnath Singh had also said that the BJP would stick to the NFU policy.

In April 2016, when US president Barack Obama had asked India to reduce its nuclear arsenal, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said, “Yes, we have seen those remarks. There seems to be a lack of understanding of India’s defence posture. Conventionally, India has never initiated military action against any neighbour. We also have a no-first use nuclear weapons policy.”

Apart from the fact that Parrikar’s remarks go against the statements of the prime minister, home minister and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India’s justification for not reducing its nuclear arsenal would disappear if the NFU policy was rejected.

This brings us to the second point.

India’s reputation and its link with NSG membership

NSG is the elite club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology. At the NSG’s plenary session in Seoul, China had blocked India’s bid for membership. The meeting ended after an agreement was pushed by Australia and Mexico that a special meeting would be held in November to discuss the criteria for India’s entry.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and PM Narendra Modi in a file photo. PTI

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and PM Narendra Modi in a file photo. PTI

That special meeting will be held on Friday and Saturday during a plenary session in Vienna.

China is already leading opposition to a push by the United States and other major powers for India to join the NSG. Other countries opposing Indian membership of the NSG include Ireland and Austria (at least).

By the way, China has also pledged to follow the NFU policy. If India now rejects the NFU policy, what effect do you think it will have on its chances of joining the NSG, which are already bleak because of a nation, which follows the NFU policy, blocking India’s membership?

Apart from virtually destroying India’s chances of ever getting NSG membership, this may further damage India as the NSG may even revoke a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to India to support its nuclear cooperation deal with the US, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.

Additionally, India going back on NFU policy will be an embarrassment because India has always been vocal about nuclear disarmament. India has a reputation of being a peace-loving country. In 2012, a study called ‘Towards a treaty banning nuclear weapons‘ had said that 146 nations had declared their willingness to negotiate a new global disarmament pact. Out of these 146 nations, only four were nuclear weapons states: India, Pakistan, China and North Korea.

In 2006, during a UN General Assembly meeting, 125 state parties — including India — had called for “commencing multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention prohibiting the development, production, testing, deployment, stockpiling, transfer, threat or use of nuclear weapons and providing for their elimination.”

Pakistani and Chinese aggression

As far as Pakistan is concerned, going back on the NFU policy may actually escalate the already tense situation. In an article published in the International Affairs Forum (a publication of Centre for International Relations — an unaffiliated US-based organisation focusing on global relations), it was argued that it was India’s NFU policy which had kept the nuclear arsenal in both India and Pakistan in a de-mated posture, which means that the nuclear warheads are not mated with the delivery systems. A first strike policy may change this situation, which increases the chances of nuclear terrorism in Pakistan, something India should avoid at all costs.

And if India goes back on its NFU policy, it makes it more likely that China will also see less reason to continue its own NFU policy, leading to more tension in South Asia.

With inputs from agencies

India will suffer great losses if it joins Japan on SCS, warns China’s state media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India may suffer “great losses” in bilateral trade if it joins Japan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to ask China to abide by an international tribunal’s ruling quashing Beijing’s claims over disputed South China Sea (SCS), Chinese media warned on Wednesday.”India should beware of the possibility that by becoming embroiled in the disputes, it might end up being a pawn of the US and suffer great losses, especially in terms of business and trade, from China,” an oped article in state-run Global Times said.Citing media reports that India is seeking support from Tokyo during Modi’s visit to Japan this week to issue a joint statement asking China to abide by July ruling of the tribunal on the SCS, it said, “India and China should put more efforts into resolving problems like the imbalance of their trade ties”.”India won’t benefit much by balancing China through Japan. It will only lead to more mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing,” it said.”India’s proposal to make new waves in the SCS first came to Singapore last month, but Singapore, a master of the rebalancing strategy, snubbed it. The rejection shows India lacks legitimacy and leadership in making new waves in the SCS,” the article said.It also pointed out that with the recent visit to China of Rodrigo Duterte, the new President of Philippines, the country that filed arbitration case against Beijing, the SCS dispute “passed pinnacle of tensions”.”India should realise that the SCS disputes have passed the pinnacle of tensions after the announcement of the arbitration result, and some involved parties have begun to reflect on their old way of addressing the disputes – creating conflicts without seeking productive bilateral negotiations.The Philippines, once a major aggressive claimant against China, has restored its relationship with China,” it said.The article which comes in the backdrop of recent meeting at Hyderabad between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi said India wants to scale up its stand on the SCS in retaliation to Beijing blocking India’s bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).”India knows that it is not yet qualified for membership in the NSG, according to the organisation’s rules. China’s decision was simply a fulfillment of its international duties.It is preposterous for Indian media and government to scapegoat China as a troublemaker, and seek revenge by making more troubles,” it said.”As a non-claimant to the South China Sea and an outsider that has no traditional influence on the region, India has been paying keen attention to any activity, because the country has adopted a ‘Look East’ foreign policy since Modi took office,” the article said.”India, however, seems to have overestimated its leverage in the region. Although China’s major rivals in the dispute, such as the US and Japan, have been trying to draw India into their camp, the country will be likely regarded as having a token role,” it said.The article said as “regional major power in Asia, India does not feel at ease with China, a larger and more powerful neighbour”.”It admires China’s imposing changeover, especially its economic takeoff, but it has never relaxed its wariness of China’s rise,” it said, adding that “the complicated feelings could drive India to make mistakes in its China policy”.Another article in the same daily – titled ‘India won t be Japan s geopolitical tool’ – criticised Japan for relaxing its rules to sign a civil nuclear deal with India.”India has refused to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and meanwhile possesses nuclear weapons. Under this situation, selling nuclear technology to New Delhi will taint Tokyo’s reputation of advocating for a nuclear weapons-free world. In fact, Abe is using international law as a tool to safeguard his self- interest, only referring to it to satisfy his needs. Japan is so pragmatic in its diplomacy. The technology agreements are de facto political deals between Japan and India,” it said.It also questioned the bullet train agreement between the two countries. “Given Japan’s costly high-speed technology and India’s relatively under-developed economy, whether the rail project will produce profits is unknown,” it said.China is also bidding for building high speed train network in India and is currently conducting a feasibility study for Delhi-Chennai railway corridor.For Japan and India, technological cooperation will enhance their cooperation in security, a critical way for Japan to contain China’s growing strength, it said.”But containing China is not Modi’s ultimate purpose.Despite its rapid economic growth, India’s development is still backward in many ways. What Modi therefore cares most about is reviving the nation’s economy and enhancing its strength,” it said.”India has no intention and cannot afford to join Japan and contain China since it needs China’s investment and financial support for development. However, considering its disputes with China, India to some extent wants to use Japan to bargain with China.”What Modi wants is to benefit from Tokyo and Beijing when they are at odds, like Duterte has done. Hence the so-called Japan-India cooperation is a tool for the two sides to use each other for political gains,” it said.At present, top leaders in some East and South Asian countries like Japan, India, Myanmar and the Philippines, are tough in their domestic policies to develop and upgrade their industries, it said.”This has given China an opportunity to break US-Japan containment and expand its influences. If China can share common interests with India as emerging industrial countries, it will counterbalance the mutual benefits of India and Japan being democratic countries,” it said.”As emerging countries, China and India have common economic interests in many aspects, and need to jointly face challenges posed by developed countries. How to boost cooperation between China and India is a key issue concerning the economic development of developing countries in the future,” it said.

New report questions China’s commitment to NSG, lays bare Pakistan dubious ways to nuke tech

China’s commitment to the NSG at a time when it so religiously throws the rulebook to block India’s bid to become a part of the elite nuclear club, stands on a dubious platform as a new report published by the King’s College of London exposes Pakistan’s web of lies and Beijing’s firm hand behind it.

Competing with India, Pakistan had also applied for the membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) with the implicit backing of China. Apart from its attempt to compete with India, it was also successfully lobbying against New Delhi’s membership and ensuring at least a delay in the decision.

Similar to India’s strategy to meet leaders from other countries and secure their support for its bid, Pakistan’s officials too embarked on a visit to Belarus and Kazakhstan to gain their backing.

The 48-member group will discuss the matter on 11 and 12 November during a plenary session in Vienna. At the NSG’s plenary session in Seoul, China had blocked India’s bid for membership. The meeting ended after an agreement was pushed by Australia and Mexico that a special meeting would be held in November to discuss the criteria for India’s entry.

China has refused to change its decision on India’s membership bid ahead of the Vienna meet. It said that it would only change its stance once rules for entry of non-NPT countries are finalised by the elite group.

Pakistan may hope to be considered for the NSG membership too in the Vienna meeting on Friday. It had told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that “the exemplary measures Islamabad had taken to strengthen nuclear safety establish its eligibility credentials,” according to a report by Dawn.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi said that Islamabad had implemented a comprehensive export control regime and ratified the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material among other measures which make it eligible to become an NSG member.

According to the King’s College report carried by The Hindustan Times, Pakistan’s continued use of front companies and other deceptive methods to obtain dual-use goods for its nuclear programme means it cannot expect to be welcomed into the NSG.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PTI

Although China remains mum on its support to either India or Pakistan’s bid, its implicit support to Pakistan is evident from Islamabad’s move of applying formally to the group immediately after Beijing blocked New Delhi’s bid.

“Pakistan has the expertise, manpower, infrastructure, as well as the ability to supply NSG controlled items, goods and services for a full range of nuclear applications for peaceful uses,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office had said, according to a report by The Times of India.

However, the report by King’s College contradicts these claims. It also contends that China is either privy to Pakistan’s programmes, or negligent of its control over state-owned enterprises.

Project Alpha of the Centre for Science and Security Studies at King’s College concluded that Pakistan has a “deliberate strategy of using deceptive methods to obtain dual-use goods”. The country also has a network of at least 20 trading companies in China, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore.

Islamabad “continues its forty-year history of covert procurement for its nuclear weapon programme largely unabated” and even keeps its nuclear fuel cycle off-limits to IAEA inspection. It remains to be seen how it will reconcile its activities to be in resonance with the rules of the grouping.

Further, the report also reveals that China is the most important supplier of all forms of goods to Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes. China and its private entities continue to knowingly supply Pakistan’s strategic programmes.

This brings into question China’s adherence to the rules and requirements of the NSG group. It is almost impossible for Pakistan to single handedly become a nuclear exporter, as the report points out. It needs the assistance of its all-weather friend, who is interestingly a part of the elite group.

The report suggests that Beijing will have to adjust its sales relationship with Pakistan to avoid international criticism.

However, this brings the dubious nature of China and its commitment to the group to the front. Stalling India’s bid with the help of Pakistan might just be a clever move by Beijing. It is not in China’s interest to allow India a greater role in international politics or to ease India’s path to growth where its economic or military clout will challenge China, as R Jagannathan points out in this Firstpost article.

The report raises pertinent questions like, is China using Pakistan for all its nuclear activities while keeping a clean front itself? Or, is it strengthening Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions for its own benefit?

Nevertheless, it is also time for the group to take a note of this report and launch an inquiry against China.

Theresa May drives a hard bargain on UK visa norms as India stress on greater liberalisation

The depth of the differences between India and UK over the latter’s immigration policy became clear on Monday as British Prime Minister Theresa May schmoozed with Narendra Modi first during a joint tech summit and later during an extensive one-on-one at New Delhi’s Hyderabad House.

On Day 1 of her India visit, the first non-European outing for May since assuming office, she stuck manfully at her job of wooing Indian investors and pitching for greater trade relations between the two nations but the difficulty of her position was all too apparent.

As Firstpost wrote on Sunday, Brexit and her own hawkish immigration policy have put May in a fundamentally conflicting position when it comes to courting foreign investment, especially from India whose companies invest more in the UK than in entire EU combined and employ more than 100,00 people, and yet are at the receiving end of a regressive visa policy that has grown tougher and tougher over the years.

PM Narendra Modi and UK PM Theresa May. PTIPM Narendra Modi and UK PM Theresa May. PTI

PM Narendra Modi and UK PM Theresa May. PTI

In particular, new changes to immigration rules announced last week were aimed specifically at making it harder for Indian IT professionals to visit UK through the Intra-Company Transfer Route (ICT) which forms the basis of 90 percent British visas issued to India.

Inevitably, as The Financial Times points out, bilateral trade has been slowing in recent years, falling from $15.7 billion in 2011-2012 to $14 billion in 2015-2016, despite India’s strong growth. The UK currently sits 13th in the list of India’s trading partners, according to figures from the Indian commerce department — behind Germany, Indonesia and Belgium.

The reason is clear. While Britain welcomes Indian investment, it abhors the skilled foreign workers that these businesses need and these already hard positions have concretised due to Brexit. So while Britain wants to become an open, throbbing global destination for trade and commerce, its immigration figures (which May has sought to bring down to an unrealistic figure of 100,000 per year, including students) sit directly at odds with its ambition.

The tension of these contradictory positions were all too clear when on Monday, May appeared ready to toe India’s line on terrorism, delivered a speech high on rhetoric extolling New Delhi’s eminence as an emerging world power and from advocating for a permanent seat at UN to backing India’s entry into the NSG club, she said everything that New Delhi wanted to hear from the head of a P5 nation. Yet to India’s chagrin, she remained rigid on a visa liberalisation scheme and refused to commit to a greater people-to-people mobility between the two nations.

Expectedly, Narendra Modi nudged May for a regularisation of the visa norms during a joint tech summit, urging Britain to open its doors for Indian students many of whom are increasingly being denied visas despite getting enrolled in some of the best British universities.

“Education is vital for our students and will define our engagement in a shared future,” Modi said at the summit alongside May. “We must, therefore, encourage greater mobility and participation of young people in education and research opportunities.” He also picked up the topic of restrictions on visas for skilled workers, saying that the UK-India joint working group which was formulated on Monday “should not only focus on trade in goods but also the expansion of services trade, including greater mobility of skilled professionals,” reported Daily Mail.

Prime Minister Modi’s concern stems from recent figures that show that UK’s new immigration policy — geared towards pushing Indian students home almost as soon as the courses are over — has led to a drastic fall in number of Indian students enrolling in British universities, from 68,238 in 2010 to 11,864 this year, according to official UK figures.

May, who had started the trip by saying that British visa norms for India are best in business and Indians to get more preferential treatment than any other nation, appeared at the end of the day to have gravitated to a more reconciliatory position. She offered a faster visa process for high net-worth Indian individuals and their family members but when it came to visas for skilled workers or students, a key Indian demand, she tied it up with illegal immigration.

She told reporters, post her talks with Modi, that “the UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain.”

This “solution” also found mention in the joint statement where “2 prime ministers agreed that ensuring simple and effective visa systems depended critically on cooperation to protect the integrity of border and immigration systems. This included ensuring the timely and efficient return of individuals to their country of origin as required by their respective national laws.”

While offering a fast-track visa service for Indian business travelers is a welcome step, May’s position on letting more Indian students and skilled Indian professionals remain stubbornly steadfast. Both nations announced a slew of tie-ups in areas of defence and cyber security on Monday and more could be coming up on Tuesday. Yet fact remains that the talks would achieve little beyond atmospherics unless UK and India and get down to solving the single issue that has so far resisted all solution: immigration.

Turkey remains non-committal on backing India’s NSG bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Turkey on Friday remained non- committal about backing India’s bid for NSG membership, saying New Delhi should first build consensus in its favour in the 48-nation bloc.Turkey was one of the countries which, at the last NSG plenary in Seoul in June, had insisted on no exception to be made for India, a non-signatory to the NPT, while examining its bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group that regulates trade in atomic material.Despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”In terms of the nuclear disarmament issue, we are going to concur with the NSG and I think Indian government needs to convince the other countries (in the bloc). So, we are for a nuclear disarmed world.”I believe India needs to work on this issue in order to convince the other countries. We are ready to join the consensus if it is reached,” Turkey’s Minister for Development Lutfi Elvan told a press conference here. On free trade pact with India, the Minister said a working group has been set up to address the issue and it has drafted a report but India it yet to ratify it.”Once the Indian Government signs the report the process will be accelerated. We want the free trade agreement because Turkey is a part of the customs union and the free trade agreement will contribute to the economies of both countries,” Elvan said. The Minister said Turkey can act as a gateway for India to countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa.He said the two countries need to converge their economic potential to boost bilateral trade volume.”Right now the trade volume between the two countries amounts to USD 6 billion which is quite low considering the true potential of the countries,” he said. “It is not only the trade volume which we are aiming to realize between the two countries, but also I advise the businesses that they need to set up companies to be able to trade with and export to third countries,” Elvan said.Outlining areas for successful mutual cooperation, he said India could draw from Turkey’s experience in construction sector.

Will first seek solution to admit non-NPT states in NSG: China on India’s bid

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Tuesday said it will first find a solution that applies to all non-NPT countries seeking entry into NSG and will then discuss India’s application, a day after the two country’s held talks over India’s bid for membership of the elite grouping.The two sides exchanged views on the enlargement of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and other relevant issues, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing here about the second round of talks held yesterday between India and China. The talks were held between Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill and his Chinese counterpart Wang Qun. “On India’s accession to the NSG, I can tell you that China’s position is very clear and consistent. China attaches importance to the accession of non-Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members into the NSG,” Hua said.”We will carry out relevant work based on the Seoul General Assembly and the inter-governmental process that is open and transparent,” she said. “We will seek a solution that applies to all Non-NPT countries and then we will discuss the specific application of relevant non-NPT country,” Hua said. She, however, did not refer to Pakistan, which has also applied for NSG membership along with India.”We are willing to keep communication and contact with India in this regard,” Hua said.In the June Plenary of the 48-member NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China had stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT. China had taken a stand that India was not a signatory to the NPT which is necessary for entry of new members into the club which controls nuclear commerce.Yesterday’s talks were the second round of dialogue between Indian and Chinese officials on India’s admission into the NSG with the first round held in September. After holding talks with India, China has held similar round of talks with Pakistan as well. Indian and Chinese officials had described yesterday’s talks as “substantive and constructive”.

NSG bid: India, China meet for ‘substantive and constructive’ discussions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Monday held “substantive and constructive” discussions on India’s bid for NSG membership during the second round of talks between their top nuclear experts in Beijing. Following the first such meeting in New Delhi on September 13, India and China continued their discussions on the NSG issue in Beijing on Monday when JS (Disarmament and International Security) Amandeep Singh Gill met Director General of Department of Arms Control Wang Qun, sources said.”The talks were substantive and constructive. The engagement will continue as per the directive of the leadership,” sources said. During the talks, India once again asserted to the Chinese side that its implementation of Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT) principles was “second to none”.Today’s talks come ahead of a possible informal consultations in next two months on India’s membership in a NSG panel, headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi.In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the NPT. Wang, who was the Chief negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, had told reporters that signing of the NPT “is a must”, maintaining that the rule has not been set by China but by the international community.Wang had also warned “if exceptions are allowed here or there on the question of NPT, the international non- proliferation regime will collapse altogether”.China has been maintaining that the question of the non- NPT states’ participation is, in essence, a multilateral issue, and can only be subject to multilateral solution by the Group. China also pointed out that the issue of the non-NPT states’ participation in the NSG raises new questions for the Group under the new circumstances, and the crux of the above question is how to address the gap between the existing policies and practices of the non-NPT states and the existing international non-proliferation rules and norms based on the NPT as the cornerstone.

India, China NSAs to meet next week to discuss bilateral ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Security Advisors of India and China will meet next week to discuss measures to improve bilateral ties which are strained by differences over a host of issues including India’s admission into NSG and Beijing’s attempts to block UN ban on JeM Chief Masood Azhar.National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi will meet in Hyderabad in November first week for informal dialogue on the state of bilateral relations, specially the irritants bedevilling the development of ties, officials said.Besides blocking India’s admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), China had put a second technical hold on India’s move to bring about a UN ban on Azhar. Also India has been protesting over the US $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).While India is concerned over the Pakistan factor creeping into India-China relations making the bilateral ties more complex, China too is airing its apprehensions over the movement to boycott Chinese goods in India as well the visit of US Ambassador to New Delhi, Richard Verma, to Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers as Southern Tibet and India’s permission to allow the Dalai Lama to visit the area.Chinese officials say Beijing is apprehensive about India moving closer to US and Japan broadening its strategic and defence ties with both the countries.Doval and Yang who are the designated Special Representatives of the India-China boundary talks, also periodically meet to discuss the whole gamut of the Sino-Indian relations.Yang was the former foreign minister of China before he was elevated to the rank of State Councillor of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) after President Xi Jinping took over power in 2013. In Chinese power structure, State Councillor is more powerful than the Foreign Minister on foreign policy issues.Both Doval and Yang have been meeting regularly to discuss the problems affecting the bilateral relations. Officials say that the Hyderabad meeting is not Special Representatives dialogue on border but an informal consultation in which all issues including those relating to the borders may figure.Their meeting is set to take place in the backdrop of the just concluded plenary meeting of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) which conferred the status of “core leader” on Xi, broadening his power base both in the party and military.On India’s admission into the NSG, both sides held in-depth talks over the issue. India has been pressing China to relent on its opposition saying that vast majority of the 48 member group back New Delhi s case.China, which is opposing India’s membership on the ground that India is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), says the group need to work out a proposal on the accession on all the non-NPT countries meaning Pakistan’s admission too.After talks with India, Chinese officials also held talks with Pakistan on the same issue.On the issue of ban on Azhar, China has not reacted to Pakistan’s reported move to freeze his bank accounts and keeping him under house arrest. Beijing’s technical hold in the UN on Azhar s ban issue is due to expire in December.Doval and Yang were expected to touch on these issues as well as India’s concerns over the ballooning trade deficit which according to Chinese officials touched over US $51 billion last year in little over US $70 billion trade between the two countries.China has been promising to step up investments in India besides opening up markets for Indian IT and Pharmaceuticals.

India’s NSG membership will affect regional stability, says Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Voicing its concern over India’s nuclear capabilities, Pakistan called on the member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to make a well-considered decision over including India, keeping in view the long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in the region”This build-up has been facilitated by the 2008 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver granted to India, which not only dented the credibility of the non-proliferation regime and undermined its efficacy, but also negatively affected the strategic balance in South Asia,” said Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakariya at a weekly press briefing, reports the Dawn.Pakistan has been asserting that India’s rapidly expanding military nuclear programme poses a grave threat to peace and stability in the region and beyond.The FO spokesman warned that another country-specific exemption by the NSG on the membership question would further exacerbate the ill effects of the 2008 exemption. “It remains our hope that the NSG member states would make a well-considered decision this time keeping in view its long-term implications for the global non-proliferation regime as well as strategic stability in our region,” he said.

Will contribute constructively to India’s NSG bid:New Zealand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The New Zealand on Wednesday committed to contribute “constructively” to the process leading to India’s membership in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Even though the commitment, made by visiting Kiwi prime minister John Key, during his bilateral discussions with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi is here is seen as alteration in the New Zealand’s opposition to India’s entry into the club, but it is also seen not a firm assurance to help India’s bid to enter into the elite club so soon. At the last NSG plenary meeting, it had teamed up with China, South Africa, Ireland, Turkey and Austria, to oppose India, raising the issue of its not signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Official sources here said New Zealand showed understanding of India’s clean energy needs and the importance of predictability in global rules on nuclear commerce in enabling the expansion of nuclear energy in India. “There is a process underway within the NSG on the membership issue. New Zealand conveyed that it would be constructively engaged on India’s membership of the NSG and would work with the others in the NSG,” they said.Referring to the ongoing ODI series between the two countries, Modi said some cricketing terms were apt description of the progress made in the two countries’ bilateral ties. “In a little while from now, our cricket teams will take the field in Ranchi for the fourth one-day international. In many ways, some of the cricketing terminology reflects progress in our bilateral linkages. In our ties, we have moved from fielding at long off to taking a fresh guard at the batting pitch. Defensive play has given way to aggressive batting,” Modi said. Key quipped that he is thankful to Modi for not raising his country’s poor performance in the series so far. New Zealand were whitewashed 0-3 in the Test series and are trailing in the ongoing five-match ODI series as well. “You have spoken about the cricket taking place in India but gracious enough not to be talking about the fact that India has been triumphing over New Zealand,” Key said in a lighter vein.The two sides also inked three pacts including one pertaining to Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and decided to establish Foreign Minister-level dialogue as well as exchanges on cyber issues. On security and counter-terrorism ties, Modi said they have agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security.Identifying food processing, dairy and agriculture, and related areas in their supply chain as some of the areas of particular potential for bilateral cooperation, Modi said New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both the societies. India has been revising double taxation avoidance pacts with countries with a view to check tax evasion and bring them in line with OECD norms.

DNA Evening Must Reads: From Venkaiah Naidu’s assurance on uniform civil code to Team India ruling ICC Test rankings

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Decision on India’s NSG bid to be taken soon: New Zealand PM John KeyIndia and New Zealand agreed on Wednesday to strengthen ties in key areas of trade, defence and security during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Kiwi counterpart John Key, who also assured that his country will contribute “constructively” to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership. Read more hereDeceased Kalikho Pul left behind ‘explosive secret notes’: Former Arunachal Governor RajkhowaClaiming that Kalikho Pul, who allegedly committed suicide, left “explosive secret notes”, Arunachal Pradesh ex-Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa on Wednesday sought a CBI inquiry into the former chief minister’s death. Read more hereUniform Civil Code will not be brought by back door, assures Venkaiah NaiduUniform Civil Code (UCC) will not be brought through the back door and without a consensus, says Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu who rejects the charge that contentious issues have been raked up by BJP to polarise elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh. Read more herePakistan arrests National Geographic’s ‘Afghan Girl’ over fraud documentsThe green-eyed girl who had adorned the National Geographic magazine cover once was arrested in Pakistan on Tuesday for living in the country with fraudulent identity papers, reports AFP. Read more hereCarpool Karaoke: Lady Gaga takes the wheel, Corden tries out outrageous outfits!In the latest ‘Carpool Karaoke’, James Corden hosted Lady Gaga on The Late Late Show. It was a brilliant ride of soulful singing, trying out costumes, and Lady Gaga taking the wheel. Read more hereTeam India, Ashwin rule ICC Test rankingsThe Indian cricket team and its premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin held on to their numero uno status in the latest ICC Test rankings for teams and bowlers. Read more here

New Zealand assures support for India’s UNSC, NSG membership appeal

New Delhi: Acknowledging the importance of India joining the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), New Zealand on Wednesday affirmed its constructive contribution towards New Delhi’s quest for the membership of the elite club.

New Zealand PM John Key arrived in India on . PTI

New Zealand PM John Key arrived in India on 25 October. PTI

Addressing a joint press conference in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key also assured of his country’s continued support to India’s bid to become a member of the reformed UN Security Council.

“I and Prime Minister Modi had a conversation about India’s application to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG). I acknowledged the importance of India joining the NSG.

“I also stated that New Zealand will continue to contribute constructively to the process currently underway in the NSG to consider India’s membership. New Zealand is committed to working with the NSG members to reach a decision and as soon as possible,” said Key.

The visiting Prime Minister further said: “I reiterated to Prime Minister Modi about New Zealand’s consistent support for India to become a member of the reformed UN Security Council, including if this means expansion of the UNSC,” said Key, adding that both leaders underlined their strong interest in advancing nuclear disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation.

Speaking on mutually beneficial ties with India, Key said both countries agreed on working closely in areas such as “food safety, cyber security, education and customs”.

“We also agreed for close coordination on a range of issues, including international terrorism,” said Key.

Observing that there is potential for the bilateral trade to grow, Key said both leaders are committed towards creating business environment in the respective countries conducive to creating jobs and prosperity for the people.

“High quality trade agreements will encourage that and Prime Minister Modi and I agreed to work towards that goal thorough our bilateral free trade agreement negotiations and regional comprehensive economic partnership talks,” added Key.

Narendra Modi meets John Key: India, New Zealand agree to expand commercial ties

After an obligatory mention of the India and New Zealand cricket match in Ranchi for the fourth One Day International, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on the issues of trade, investment and terrorism which will impact both the nations during his joint statement with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key.

Before raising the issue of terrorism, Modi and Key discussed investment and trade ties between the two countries. They recognised the need for greater economic engagement in order to effectively respond to the growing uncertainties in global economy.

The leaders also agreed to expand business and commercial ties. Modi referred to food processing, dairy and agriculture as areas with particular potential for bilateral cooperation. “New Zealand’s strength and capacity in these sectors can combine with India’s vast technology needs to build partnerships that can benefit both our societies,” he said.

However, while the leaders recognised the need to enhance cooperation in these sectors, no decision or agreement was signed. It might be because New Delhi is extremely protective of its market in agricultural products and detest a drop in tariff, as this Firstpost article points out. The high tariff on some agricultural products makes it uneconomic for outsiders.

They also agreed that the two-way trade had increased by 42 percent but noted that commercial relations could and should be even stronger. However, the talks over the Free Trade Agreement are still continuing. As was noted by Firstpost earlier, both the countries have been working on it since 2010. New Zealand wanted to push through the impasse in the negotiations during Key’s visit but unfortunately, the countries decided to “continue” to work towards the agreement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Prime Minister John Key. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Prime Minister John Key. PTI

Both the leaders also agreed to promote greater business connectivity through the movement of skilled professionals and signed the double taxation avoidance agreement. Therefore, even though the two countries did not come to a specific conclusion about the trade of goods, they made significant steps to boost services through this protocol.

After addressing the important issue of trade with New Zealand, which has been dwindling in recent years, Modi went on to thank Key for Wellington’s support to New Delhi joining a reformed UN Security Council as a permanent member. He also expressed his gratitude to New Zealand’s PM for considering India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

New Zealand also welcomed India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Modi and Key also agreed to strengthen security and intelligence cooperation against terrorism and radicalisation, including in the domain of cyber security. They also recognised terrorism as one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security.

The growing migration and education links between the two nations were also recognised by the leaders. They also recognised the need to ensure all students are provided high-quality education experiences and underlined the need for on-going coordination between agencies in New Zealand and India.

These are the agreements signed by both the countries in brief:

New Zealand PM John Key arrives in India, to hold talks with PM Modi on Wednesday

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks on Wednesday with his New Zealand counterpart John Key, who arrived on a three-day India visit on Tuesday, during which he is likely to seek Wellington’s support for India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

New Zealand PM John Key arrives in India. PTI

New Zealand PM John Key arrives in India. PTI

New Zealand was one of the countries that took the stand at the last NSG plenary in South Korea in June that no exception can be made in the case of India, a non-NPT country, while considering its membership bid of the elite group that regulates trade in atomic material. At the plenary, despite strong US support, China had blocked India’s bid on the ground that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Ahead of Key’s visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India will tell New Zealand it had “all the credentials” to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that it would strengthen the NPT regime. “We believe that we have all the credentials to be a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and we hope that at the end of the day the 48 member grouping will see the logic of India’s entry because it will only strengthen the global non-proliferation regime,” Swarup had said.

Key, who was scheduled to arrive in Mumbai on Monday, cancelled that leg of his tour, due to a technical problem in his aircraft. Apart from Delhi, where Key will hold extensive talks with Modi on key bilateral issues and call on President Pranab Mukherjee, besides attending a business summit, he will also travel to Kochi on Thursday.

In Kochi, he and his delegation will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand company, Glidepath. Key will be accompanied by members of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP. He had last visited India in 2011.

NSG membership: Not just China, India must work on convincing other countries with reservations

India needs to change tack in its quest for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Apart from concentrating on China, which had blocked its entry earlier this year, it also needs to focus on the half a dozen or more countries that had reservations over the admission process. The objections of these NSG members to making an exception for India for the second time without laying down a procedure for membership remain a major challenge for Indian negotiators.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President Xi Jinping. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President Xi Jinping. Reuters

New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria were among the handful of countries that had called for setting the criteria for admission of countries that had not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Most of them were not opposed to India’s entry but were in favour of drafting guidelines or conditions for membership. India is not a signatory to the NPT.

Though India had blamed China for thwarting its bid at the NSG plenary meeting in June 2016, these countries too had a significant role in ensuring India’s application was not taken up at the meeting. Pakistan’s last minute application for membership to the NSG gave an added cause for their reservations.

India has begun its preparations for the next meeting of the NSG that is likely to take place in late November. The NSG plenary meeting in Seoul had ended with an agreement that a special meeting would be held before the end of the year. It was also decided that Argentinian envoy Rafael Grossi would undertake informal consultations to build consensus on the criteria for admission.

The campaign to muster support within the NSG membership began gathering momentum at the time of the Brics summit in Goa earlier this month. Four of the Brics countries – Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa are members of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group. Russia backed India’s candidature at the Seoul meeting. In keeping with his personalised style of diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally took up the NSG issue in his bilateral meetings with the Brics leaders.

Modi spoke to Brazil’s new President Michel Temer for support at the NSG, but Brazil remained non-committal with Temer merely stating that he “understood” India’s aspiration to be a member of the NSG. There was no positive reference to NSG after Modi’s meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma. Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Modi that the second round of talks between China and India on non-proliferation would be held soon.

China had proposed that the top disarmament and arms control officials of India and China meet to discuss the nuclear issue. The first round of talks was held in late September. At the same time, China is going ahead with its support to Pakistan on its NSG membership. China held a round of arms control discussions with Pakistan in late September just a few days after its talks with India. Following the talks, Beijing had suggested a two-step process to explore a ‘non-discriminatory formula’ that would be applicable to all non-NPT states seeking to join the NSG.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s arrival in Delhi on Tuesday evening for a four-day state visit would be another occasion to put forward India’s case. New Zealand is a staunch supporter of nuclear non-proliferation and has been at the forefront of international moves calling for progress towards disarmament. It was a founder of the New Agenda Coalition, comprising Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico and South Africa that gave a call for a nuclear weapons free world. It also has a strong public movement against nuclear weapons that took strong roots when the US and later France had conducted nuclear tests in the South Pacific region.

Brazil has indicated that though it supported India, it favoured a laid down process for entry. This was on the same lines as other countries that were not in favour of yet another exception being made for India, instead of evolving criteria that would apply to all new members.

India’s diplomatic offensive has to work on parallel processes to convince China as well as the other NSG members querying the admission process. India had misread the signals emanating from several capitals before the Seoul meeting. It had banked on the fact that the 48-member NSG had approved of a special exemption for India in 2008 to allow it access to nuclear technology. In that context, it had underestimated their depth of concern over altering the NSG norms on NPT and not expected it to be a major hindrance to its candidature.

India has to find a way to address the reservations expressed by the NSG members. With Pakistan’s application in the background, backed by China, it would not be an easy task to convince the NSG members to change their stance.

New Zealand PM John Key to visit India next week, NSG membership bid to be discussed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to seek New Zealand’s support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group when he holds talks with his counterpart of the island nation John Key in Delhi next week. Key will pay a four-day visit to India from October 24-27.External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India’s bid for NSG membership is likely to figure in talks between the two prime ministers besides other issues. In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.New Zealand, a member of the 48-nation grouping, is known to have strong position on nuclear non-proliferation. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity. Key will arrive in Mumbai on the evening of October 24 where he will deliver a key note address at an event organised by Bombay Stock Exchange in association with Chambers of Commerce.Key will also meet with the Governor and Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He will also be attending Innovation showcase event to celebrate innovation in New Zealand-India business partnerships. In Delhi, Key will hold one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed by official delegation level meeting to discuss growing bilateral relations. He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and attend a business summit.On conclusion of visit, Key will depart Delhi on October 27 via Kochi where he and his delegation will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand company, Glidepath. Key will be accompanied by members of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP. He had last visited India in 2011. President Pranab Mukherjee visited New Zealand in May this year.

Narendra Modi to raise NSG issue with New Zealand PM next week

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to seek New Zealand’s support to India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group when he holds talks with his counterpart of the island nation John Key in New Delhi next week.

Key will pay a four-day visit to India from 24-27 October.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said India’s bid for NSG membership is likely to figure in talks between the two prime ministers besides other issues.

File photo of Narendra Modi. Getty ImagesFile photo of Narendra Modi. Getty Images

File photo of Narendra Modi. Getty Images

In the June Plenary of NSG in Seoul, despite strong American support, China stonewalled India’s bid to get entry into the group on the grounds that it was a not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

New Zealand, a member of the 48-nation grouping, is known to have strong position on nuclear non-proliferation. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity.

Key will arrive in Mumbai on the evening of October 24 where he will deliver a key note address at an event rganised by Bombay Stock Exchange in association with Chambers of Commerce.

Key will also meet with the Governor and Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He will also be attending Innovation showcase event to celebrate innovation in New Zealand-India business partnerships.

In Delhi, Key will hold one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed by official delegation level meeting to discuss growing bilateral relations. He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee and attend a business summit.

On conclusion of visit, Key will depart Delhi on 27 October via Kochi where he and his delegation will undertake a short tour of the new Cochin International Terminal and the work undertaken by the New Zealand company, Glidepath.

Key will be accompanied by members of New Zealand Parliament Mark Mitchell, Chair of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee and Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, MP.

He had last visited India in 2011. President Pranab Mukherjee visited New Zealand in May this year.

How India can tackle China’s myriad mischief and increasingly assertive hegemony

It is not often that we get to hear voices from China on Sino-Indian relationship and various pulls and pressure that the intriguing pirouette between two neighbouring powers entails. It was therefore informative to go through Kai Xue’s column on The Times of India‘s edit page on Tuesday.

Most interestingly, the Beijing corporate lawyer starts by complaining about India’s ‘aggressive posture’ near its north-eastern border.

“India has recently deployed 120 tanks in Ladakh, cleared deployment of around 100 supersonic BrahMos missiles in Arunachal Pradesh, and within this year has reactivated and upgraded five advanced landing bases in Arunachal Pradesh. These actions are the culmination of a large scale multi-year arms buildup near the border with China that has included drilling of new bunkers and additional troops and artillery at the edge of the disputed line. China has during this time not moved new weapons to the border” and has merely “engaged in upgrading non-military transportation infrastructure in border provinces.” 

In an act of supreme victimhood, the author suggests that all of India’s actions were “unilateral”.

I have quoted the paragraph in full because it reflects somewhat the way China approaches the Sino-Indian relationship. Unlike Pakistan, whose enmity towards India is one-dimensional and replete with rhetorical flourishes (and hence, open to reception), Beijing’s moves are deceptive. It plays the aggressor and the victim at the same time. It provokes, needles and bullies New Delhi, yet does not hesitate to play the victim card when India reacts.

File image of Chinese president Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

File image of Chinese president Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

The author, for instance, magnificently ignores the weight of history, China’s frequent, unprovoked incursions into India’s territory and the way Beijing has traditionally treated Arunachal Pradesh, calling it ‘south Tibet’ and claiming it in full.

To jog the memory, in 2006, just a week ahead of former President Hu Jintao’s India visit, China announced that Arunachal Pradesh was “our territory”. It criticised Japan last year for calling the region a part of India and reportedly even went to the extent of lodging an official protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit, adding that the move was “not conducive” to developing bilateral relations.

This deft interspersing of dandabaazi and diplomatic sleight of hand was again on full display during the just-concluded Brics Summit. While Chinese obstinacy on not letting the names of Pakistan-based terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba be mentioned in the Goa Declaration was on expected lines, more surprising has been Russia’s ambivalence on terrorism emanating out of Pakistan.

Nobody was surprised by China’s umbrage at Modi’s ‘mothership of terrorism’ jibe against Pakistan but India’s discomfort was evident at Vladimir Putin’s silence on terrorism at the Brics Plenary. Firstpost had argued on Monday why the Brics Summit was actually a huge success for India despite Chinese machinations, but it did rankle Indian negotiators that Russia failed to do its bit in pushing more for Indian concerns while ensuring that the terror outfit with which it engages with finds mention in Goa Declaration.

It would be erroneous to attach too much important to Russia’s joint military exercise with Pakistan beyond an obvious attempt to provoke India into splurging on defence deals. More instructive would be to look at the Sino-Russian relationship in the wake of Moscow’s plummeting ties with Washington.

As Indrani Bagchi writes in The Times of India, “As the West has shunned Russia, slapped sanctions on it, Russia has moved East. To China. Chinese students go to Russia, as do Chinese tourists. Russia is now almost completely subservient to China… Indians have been alarmed at the depth and quality of the Russia-China relationship. Moscow is sharing military technologies with Beijing that would have been unimaginable earlier.”

It is not difficult in this context to interpret why Russia was forced to dump its “old friend” from the Cold War era and settle for a more pro-Chinese stance.

The lesson for India, therefore, is manifold. A nation’s geopolitical influence and its ability to bend the regional curve in line with its strategic interests depends almost entirely on its economic heft. Three decades of robust growth have given China unprecedented hard power and in President Xi Jinping, it has a president willing to wield that power to assert its hegemony, have a say in international relations and in the long run, even challenge the supremacy of the US.

India’s problem is that it shares China’s economic ambition but lags behind woefully on developmental scale, a point Kai Xue also makes in his aforementioned column where he says that “India… has withered under mediocre governance and slow-growth socialist economics.”

India wishes to have peaceful and friendly relationship with its neighbours but must somehow tackle China’s burning global ambition and its usage of various of levers (which includes using Pakistan’s nuisance value or heavy infrastructural spending aimed at throwing a military-strategic ring around India) to check New Delhi’s rise.

The extent of China’s belligerence under Xi can be gauged by taking a look at the most recent defence white paper, Chinese Military Strategy, published in May 2015. According to Richard A Bitzinger in Policy Forum, “the PLA will continue to de-emphasise land operations, all but abandoning People’s War (except in name and in terms of political propaganda), particularly in favour of giving new stress and importance to sea- and airpower.”

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What must India do to if not tackle, at least maintain a reasonable equilibrium against such an aggressive power with whom it runs a trade deficit of $52.7 billion?

For starters, it must invest in new ties as the prime minister has tried to do with the Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) initiative. The new conglomerate of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand and Myanmar may not be a Saarc substitute but provide a vital hedge against Chinese manipulation since many of these nations are themselves victims of China’s naked aggression. The investment gave a handy early return to India when it said in the outcome document that terrorists cannot be called “martyrs” which was a direct jab at Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s attempt to glorify Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani at the UN.

Two, India must develop its ties with Japan on a war footing. As The Financial Times noted (subscription required) during Modi’s 2014 visit to Japan when he famously gave Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe a bear hug, Modi’s decision to make Japan his first “foreign port of call” was “informed by hard-nosed calculations of how India and Japan can work together on undertakings of mutual interest and concern — reviving their respective economies, and grappling with Chinese expansionism”.

Much needs to be done on this front beyond a symbolic hug or a bullet train project. Commerce and industry minister N Sitharaman’s urge to Indian industry to make more use of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is important.

What must India do to if not tackle, at least maintain a reasonable equilibrium against such an aggressive power with whom it runs a trade deficit of $52.7 billion?

India must also get over its distrust of US and understand that for Washington, courtship of India isn’t an act of benevolence but a necessity to gain an Asia pivot against China. Towards that end, India must shed its coyness over the crucial Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with US that allows both militaries to work closely and improve logistical cooperation. If that paves the way for future pacts, India must not be defensive. Non-alignment as a foreign policy has expended its usefulness.

Of particular importance is Brazil’s acquiescence on India’s NSG membership. An outcome of a bilateral between Modi and Brazilian president Michel Temer on the sidelines of the Brics Summit, the development has far-reaching consequences. Brazil, as The Times of India points out, was one of the very few countries along with China to refuse a waiver for non-NTP signatory India in the NSG. However, as MEA secretary Preeti Saran noted: “Prime Minister (Modi) conveyed to Brazil India’s aspiration for joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership and Brazil president conveyed its understanding of India’s aspirations and conveyed that he would work with other countries of the NSG in helping India to move towards its membership”.

This portends well for India. New Delhi cannot match Beijing’s economic heft and consequent influence in the medium to short term. But India’s action plan must include avoidance of direct confrontation and rhetoric, developing relations with powers not tied to China’s apron strings and initiating reforms and growth measures domestically.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Trump says India, US would be ‘best friends’ if elected; Modi’s BRICS bilaterals throw no surprise; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Trump praises Modi; says India, US would be ‘best friends’ if elected as PresidentIf voted to power India and the US would become “best friends” and have a “phenomenal future” together., Trump said. Read more.2. Modi’s BRICS bilaterals throw no surprise; second round of consultations on NSG likely to be held soonPM hits it off with Putin, but talks with Xi hints at limits of personalised diplomacy. Read more.3. Mumbai: Three-year-old Andheri girl raped; raises questions on kids’ safety in cityOn an average, every day, one minor is sexually violated. Read more.4. I take advice from Kohli: MS DhoniDhoni, too, has realised that time has possibly come where fans want to see Kohli take over all the three formats. Read more.5. Songs that changed the world… and meCelebs pick their inspirational songs. Read more.

Narendra Modi’s BRICS bilaterals throw no surprise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They came, they saw, but didn’t concur! Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday met for the ninth time in over two years but the salubrious Goa weather did not appear to bridge the chasm that divides the two Asian neighbours.Modi and Xi agreed to disagree on issues of immediate concern to India, namely India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership and the proposed UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters that Modi spoke “frankly” about the need for finding a common ground on the proposed UN ban on Masood Azhar. China has proposed that a second round of consultations on the NSG issue will be held soon. Also, Chinese State Councillor Yanj Jiechi can be expected to hold talks with National Security Adviser AK Doval. India, he adds, has had a “continuous dialogue” with China on terrorism and it remains hopeful of China’s cooperation on these and other issues of interest to Beijing and New Delhi.Modi has pursued high-velocity diplomacy, logging frequent flyer miles along the way but his attempts to forge a modus vivendi with Beijing has come unstuck, and, in the process, exposed the limits of his personalised diplomacy. In fact, in the run-up to the Modi-Xi meeting in Goa, Beijing pre-empted New Delhi by iterating its positions on NSG and Masood Azhar, partly in deference to the sentiments of its all-weather ally Pakistan but also as a lever to pin India down geopolitically in South Asia.Modi’s first meeting with Xi after coming to power was at the BRICS Summit in Brazil in July 2014. Thereafter, he invited Xi to Gujarat in September the same year, in an apparent effort to extricate the Sino-Indian ties from a diplomatic cul-de-sac and introduce an element of personalised diplomacy into India’s foreign policy.Although Modi has met both Xi and President Barack Obama of the US eight times each, his personal chemistry with Xi couldn’t really take off. This, in spite of Modi and Xi sharing some similarities. For one, both have risen to the pinnacle of their political careers around the same time. Both appear to revel in popular nationalism.As Avinash Godbole writes in a paper for the New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), Xi and Modi enjoy a significant mandate as leaders of their respective constituents. “There is also the case of overlapping foreign policies that focus on neighbourhoods and a vocal approach to engagements,” Godbole points out.However, Modi’s engagements with Putin stand in sharp contrast to Xi. Modi and Putin share some personality traits, including their penchant for a muscular approach to diplomacy — Ukraine in the case of Putin and Pakistan insofar as Modi is concerned. It helps that India’s ties with Russia stand on a different pedestal than China.As Foreign Secretary Jaishankar points out, Russia has been a time-tested partner and friend of India and it is reflected in Putin’s “unequivocal condemnation” of terrorism against India. Diplomats everywhere are not seldom given to making off-the-cuff remarks, so when Jaishankar uses the phrase “a meeting of minds” to describe the Modi-Putin talks, it assumes a significance of its own.

Brics summit: India, China recognise terrorism as ‘key issue’ but Beijing mum on Masood Azhar

Benaulim: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday recognised terrorism as a “key issue”, an Indian official said after a meeting between the two leaders here. But Beijing gave no assurance on supporting New Delhi’s bid on a UN ban against Pakistan-based militant leader Masood Azhar.

“Both sides recognised terrorism as a key issue. President Xi said we should strengthen our security dialogue and partnership,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters.

Modi and Xi Jinping met at a beach resort here, ahead of the Brics Summit to review bilateral ties and its dimensions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

“Modi said that both India and China had been victims of terrorism which was a scourge afflicting the entire region,” Swarup said.

Swarup said that Xi underlined that “terrorism and violent extremism were on the increase”, alluding to the threat from the Islamic State terror group.

Asked about China blocking the Indian effort to have Azhar banned, Swarup said it was up to China to consider the move that will safeguard not only the region but the entire world from terrorism.

“The Chinese side is very well aware of our concerns, and the need for us to ensure that globally notified terrorists are designated by the UN,” he said, adding that the two sides are coordinating on the issue and talks would continue over it.

The Spokesperson said that the Modi and Xi also had a “brief discussion on” India’s prospects of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“PM Modi said we look forward to working with China to realise India’s membership of the NSG,” he said.

Swarup said that one round of dialogue has already been held on this issue and the second would be conducted soon.

This apart, both leaders expressed satisfaction at the increase in high-level visits between the two countries.

Modi and Xi agreed that bilateral investment and economic cooperation has increased.

Xi said that Chinese companies were being encouraged to invest in India, according to Swarup.

Modi also appreciated China’s contributions to the Brics and said the New Development Bank of Brics nations was a symbol of partnership of the member states of the grouping.

Ahead of BRICS Summit, PM Modi, President Jinping to hold bilateral meet on Oct 15

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 15 ahead of the BRICS Summit on in Goa.China on Monday said it was “ready” for talks with India on the latter’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).However, it has defended its stand on extending a hold on New Delhi’s bid for a United Nations ban on Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar.Responding to a question whether any progress can be expected on the issue of India’s admission into the NSG in the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said the NSG rules stipulate consensus among the members to admit new ones.Stating that China and India have maintained good communication on the issue, he said that Beijing was ready to continue consultations with New Delhi to build consensus.Beijing is opposed to anyone making political gains in the name of counter-terrorism, he said while answering to a question on criticism about China’s move to halt India’s bid for a ban on Azhar.The BRICS Summit is scheduled to begin from October 17.Earlier in June, Prime Minister Modi had urged the Chinese Premier to consider India’s NSG case favourably, but China rebuffed India’s request at the NSG plenary in Seoul.

Brics summit in Goa: After isolating Pakistan, India must call China’s bluff

Having isolated Pakistan in the international community reasonably effectively, India will come face to face with China, Pakistan’s mentor and accomplice, at the two-day Brics summit in Goa this weekend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to at least politely confront Chinese President Xi Jinping over China’s own duplicitous role in the India-Pakistan tension.

Modi must refuse to succumb to the latest carrot that China has dangled before India: that it is “willing” to continue the talks on India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). This means nothing, unless China makes a substantial promise with a modicum of honesty, but honesty has never been a virtue of Chinese foreign policy.

Besides Modi and President Xi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Brazilian President Michel Temer and South African President Jacob Zuma will attend the 15-16 October Brics summit.

It would be naive to pretend that Uri will not cast a dark shadow over the five-nation summit of Brics and the “retreat” of the seven-nation Bimstec that will follow it in Goa. Modi couldn’t have hoped for a better venue to continue his diplomatic offensive against Pakistan. The leaders descending on Goa together represent nearly half the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s GDP.

Formed in 2009, Bric, as it was first called, consisted of Brazil, Russia, India and China. With the entry of South Africa the next year, it became Brics. The eighth summit in Goa will be the second that India is hosting after the one in 2012 in New Delhi.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) includes Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

But it’s China that India is most wary of.

India has been a victim of Chinese foreign policy, always marked by intricate trickery, confounding mystery, devious mischief and diabolical doublespeak—all with an element of nasty surprise. China’s incursions into Indian territory, its recent pointless talk about stopping the Brahmaputra water, its continued resistance to India’s entry into the NSG and its refusal to back India’s move for a UN ban on Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar have, among other things, surprised and upset India.

India must say enough is enough, but cautiously, because trade is irrevocably linked to the hypocritical bilateral relations that the two countries have.

And when he meets President Putin, Modi must also express India’s concern over its old friend Russia increasingly warming up to Pakistan. Brics is primarily an economic grouping and so the agenda of its summit is dominated by business. But the indications are that India will insist that the “Goa declaration” that will come at the summit’s end must include a categorical condemnation of cross-border terrorism.

Whatever will be the final contents of this declaration, Modi will have enough opportunity to do some plain-speaking about Pakistan during his one-on-one meetings with the various Presidents and Prime Ministers on the sidelines of the two events.

Clearly, it’s Modi’s meeting with President Xi that will be most watched.

China’s biggest problem—though it’s not any of India’s business what problems China has in the region—is that it is caught between its geopolitical interest in Pakistan and its desperate dependence on the Indian market for its exports. In trying to balance between the two, the Chinese are cutting themselves sorry figures in the eyes of international community. On its part, India has a lot to suffer from China’s military backing for Pakistan, and yet the country badly needs Chinese imports and investments.

Look at this Chinese duplicity, a clumsy effort to fool India:

On 15 September, China set up a so-called China-India Business Council (CIBC) to “promote and coordinate” Chinese investments in and business with India with an office at Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. This was in response to India’s demand that China must promote investments in view of India’s growing trade deficit with that country.

Three days after this came Pakistan’s perpetration of horror at Uri. China made some tentative noises by telling both India and Pakistan to have a dialogue and “de-escalate” tension. But in the days that followed, China sent out two strong messages to remind India who its real friend is.

One was China’s announcement that it was building a “huge” dam on the Xiabuqu tributary of the Brahmaputra. The idea of building that damned dam is not new. Nor is the amount of water that it can possibly divert from flowing into India and Bangladesh significant. But it was China’s way of making a retaliatory noise against India’s move to review the Indus Waters Treaty that threatens to reduce water flows into Pakistan.

The other, stronger, message from China came when it once again blocked India’s move at the United Nations to ban Masood Azhar, the dreaded Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist, who roams freely in Pakistan.

And then came a joke as Brics summit neared. China said that the dam on Brahmaputra would do no harm to India and that the question of Masood Azhar was an open one.

And China, of course, continues to be unrelenting in its opposition to India’s entry into the NSG and is going full steam ahead with the $-50-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Pakistan.

So it’s CPEC for Pakistan and CIBC for India. And Masood Azhar can plan his terror attacks on India at will.

The Chinese leaders have been probably congratulating themselves on how smart they are with their carrot-and-sticks policy for India. The fact that the world in general and India in particular sees through their chicanery hasn’t stopped them from pursuing the game. Each carrot that China continues to dangle in India’s face is accompanied by ten sticks.

But now, even the Chinese are finding that things are changing a little. They are increasingly becoming aware that the bursting of its economic bubble has led to a significant reduction in their clout — and that the world is getting more and more wary of its dishonesty.

The author tweets @sprasadindia

dna Morning Must Reads: PM says those who support terror can’t go unpunished; NSG commandos deployed at Red Fort over alert; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. War necessary at times, those supporting terror cannot go unpunished: PM ModiDrawing parallels between Ravana and modern-day terrorists, PM says those who support terror cannot go unpunished. Read more.2. Uddhav Thackeray warns BJP of ‘surgical strikes’; says ‘if you have guts, break the alliance now'”If you have the guts, break the alliance now and take us head-on, our men are ready,” said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray warning BJP of “surgical strikes” if they snapped ties with it. Read more.3. NSG commandos deployed at Red Fort amid intelligence inputs about possible terror strikeTop Delhi Police officers told DNA that this was not a usual exercise and this was the first instance when the NSG will be camping at the Red Fort, which was attacked in 2000. Read more.4. Modi’s dream project of electrifying dark villages set to miss December dateThe deadline to achieve 100% rural electrification has been advanced twice. But several states have been severely lagging. West Bengal didn’t electrify a single village in six months, Uttarakhand and J&K did only two each. Read more.5. Not just a drag act: Why men dressed in a woman’s garb are so popular on TVHere’s taking a look at why men dressed in a woman’s garb are so popular on TV. Also, we have to ask… is it a trick tried too often now? Read more.

NSG issue: PM Modi’s diplomatic skill on test again with Chinese President Xi Jinping

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic skills will be put to test once again, when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week. Of late, Beijing has been taking increasingly hostile position regarding India’s bid to enter the critical Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as to introduce an international ban on terrorist Masood Azhar.President Xi will arrive in Goa on Saturday to attend the BRICS summit, before travelling to Cambodia and Bangladesh.China’s indication to discuss “possibilities” with India on its bid to become a full-fledged NSG member has brought some cheer here. Senior officials said there was a real possibility of a discussion on a “common criteria applicable to all non-NPT applicants”. But they said the inclusion of some additional elements into the new “criteria”, if they cross red-lines or force India to declare all its grid-connected reactors as civilian reactors, may not be acceptable.Last month, India said it held “substantive” talks with China regarding its attempt to join the NSG, a 48-member group of countries that trades in civilian nuclear technology. Modi is campaigning to join the NSG to back a multi-billion-dollar drive to build nuclear power plants in partnership with Russia, the US and France, and to reduce India’s reliance on polluting fossil fuels.Nuclear expert and senior fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), G Balachandran, said while there was no harm in discussing the additional criteria, they should not adversely affect India’s national security. But any criteria that strengthened international norms related to nuclear non-proliferation and that were are accepted by all NSG members should not pose any problem.But what foxed officials here is the statement of China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, defending his country’s move to stall a UN ban on Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Azhar. “There should be no double standards on counter-terrorism. Nor should one pursue own political gains in the name of counter-terrorism,” he said, in a veiled reference to India.India has blamed JeM for January’s attack on the air force base in Pathankot and last month’s terror strike on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri, in which 19 soldiers were killed. China has twice thwarted India’s attempt to get Azhar blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council.Soon after coming to power, Modi had invited President Xi to Ahmedabad. The bonhomie, however, evaporated soon when Beijing led a small group of countries in June to oppose India’s bid to become NSG member.Official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, said India will raise the issue of Chinese veto in case of Azhar and would ask it to reconsider the stand. About the NSG, China’s Baodong said, “These rules are not to be decided by China alone. We are ready to continue consultation with India to build a consensus. On this issue, China’s position is consistent. That is why China has often said that international law must be observed.”India expects that counter-terrorism cooperation will figure prominently in the BRICS Summit. During their last meeting, BRICS foreign ministers had reached an agreement on counter-terrorism.China has also snubbed Indian media for raising the issue of blocking waters of the Brahmaputra river. Relations between China and India should not be affected by “imaginary water war”, an article in the state-run Global Times said, adding that Beijing was unlikely to use the river water as a potential weapon.

Seeking proof of surgical strikes is illegal and unjustified: Ujjwal Nikam

Mumbai: Noted special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Thursday said that any demand for proof of army’s surgical strikes across the LoC is “illegal and unjustified”.

“Such a demand for disclosure of evidence on surgical strikes is not only illegal but also not justified, because if the evidence is disclosed by way of video footage or photographs it would endanger the Indian Army and the security of India.”

File photo of Ujjwal Nikam. Reuters.

File photo of Ujjwal Nikam. Reuters.

“This would give an opportunity to the enemy country to adopt counter steps in future by attacking us,” Nikam, who was the Special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, told PTI.

He was responding to the government’s stand that it has the proof but would not disclose it in public.

Nikam said, a similar situation on disclosure of evidence on fight between army and terrorists had occurred during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks trial.

He said the special court wanted to know how National Security Guards (NSG) commandos had fought the terrorists who had come from Pakistan and attacked targets in Mumbai such as hotel Taj, Trident and other places.

The terrorists included Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker captured alive who was later sentenced to death.

“I was asked by the court to examine NSG commandos as witnesses so as to know how they had countered the terror attack, but I refused to do so,” Nikam said.

Eventually, the Maharashtra government and NSG had challenged the order of special court (to examine NSG guards) in Bombay High Court which ruled that such evidence, i.e., strategy adopted by armed guards in fight against terrorists, could not be disclosed in public interest, he said.

The law of the land also prohibits the authorities to disclose the details of surgical strikes launched by India on terrorists camps in Jammu and Kashmir, he further said.

“To ask for the proof of surgical strikes is not only ridiculous but this would help the enemy country as they would benefit by knowing our warfare tactics and might employ counter strategy to defeat India, Nikam said.

“Few persons who have raised a hue and cry by asking for proof of surgical strikes by India are grabbing headlines in Pakistani media. Are they really aware of the implications of what they are demanding?”, he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday released a video clip in which he “saluted” PM Narendra Modi for the surgical strikes by Indian Army but also urged the prime minister to clear the air around “Pakistan’s false propaganda”.

He was later criticised by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. “It was most painful and unfortunate that the AAP leader was in Pakistani media headlines today as his remarks yesterday gave it a chance to question India Army’s claim,” the BJP had leader said.

India will ratify Paris climate deal on October 2: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech at the BJP council meet in Kozhikode on Sunday, said India will ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change on October 2. “India will ratify the decision on October 2 – the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.” The announcement comes as a surprise as earlier in September, during the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, India had signalled that it may not ratify the climate deal before 2016 due to “domestic processes”.During the Paris climate conference in 2015, India committed to scale up its non-fossil fuel share to 40% and aimed to reduce emission intensity or emission per unit of gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030. With Modi’s announcement, India, the world’s 4th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 4.1% of global emissions, is now set to join the US, China and Brazil in ratifying the deal.The Paris deal will come into effect in 2020 and will be enforced after at least 55 countries, which contribute to 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions, officially ratify it. So far, 61 countries, accounting for 48% of global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the deal. The European Union, South Africa, Australia and Japan are yet to ratify the deal. Sources said the EU is likely to take a final call on the ratification date in the first week of October.While several countries require the approval of the executive and Parliament for ratifying international agreements or treaties, in India, the power lies solely with the executive. An approval from the Union cabinet will seal the deal on the Paris agreement. Once the cabinet approves it, India will have to physically deposit the instrument of ratification to legally join the Paris agreement.Following PM Modi’s announcement, environment, forest and climate change minister Anil Dave said, “India will stand by the commitments made in Paris and we are taking a big step in that direction by deciding to ratify the Paris deal. If globally temperatures rise above the 2 degree-Celsius mark, island countries like Tuvalu will be the first to submerge. PM Modi has made this decision keeping in mind the aspirations and welfare of the country and its people,” said Dave.Commentators lauded India’s decision to join the deal in 2016. “The decision will reflect well on India’s leadership in the global climate negotiations,” said Harjeet Singh, International Climate Policy Manager, ActionAid.India aims to reduce emission intensity or emission per unit of gross domestic product by 33-35% by 2030, from the 2005 levels. Ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, India had committed to reduce its emissions intensity by 20-25%, and the environment ministry said that it has already achieved a 12% reduction.In 2015, India announced a paradigm shift in its renewable energy production targets and decided to scale up the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022. Of this, 100 GW would come from solar energy, 60GW from wind energy, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power.India signed the Paris agreement on April 22 along with 170 other countries.The Indian government had hinted that it will use the ratification of Paris deal as leverage for membership in the exclusive Nuclear Suppliers Group. In NSG meeting in June, China snubbed India’s chances to get a seat in NSG.During the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, US and China jointly announced the ratification of the Paris deal. But, India did not follow suit.Russia (7.5% of global emissions), Japan (3.79%), and Germany (2.56%) are yet to join the deal.President Barack Obama ratified the deal through an executive order using the sole-executive agreement instead of getting it passed through Congress. But, if Donald Trump, who is a climate change denier, is voted to power, he can revoke US’ ratification of the deal.

High alert in Mumbai after school kids report spotting suspicous men near Uran navy base

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A high alert was sounded in Mumbai and adjoining areas on Thursday after two schoolchildren reported spotting suspicious persons in the Uran area. While the first child informed the school principal about one suspected terrorist, the other reported a group of 5-6 – all dressed in black, pathani suits and probably carrying weapons in their backpacks. Both reported spotting the terrorists near the Uran bus depot.As the school authorities escalated the matter around 7 am, security agencies got into the act. What worried the agencies was that while the suspects were reportedly speaking in an incomprehensible language, two words could be clearly heard – school and ONGC.The Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence Bureau, National Security Guard (NSG), Force One, Coastal Police, Anti-Terrorism Squad, Crime Branch, Quick Response Team, Home Guards, Navi Mumbai Police, Mumbai Police and Thane Police all pressed their teams for surveillance.ONGC has a major installation in Uran. This plant is for Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) processing and related products. Areas in and around Uran also have sensitive installations like INS Abhimanyu, a base of Marcos, the elite marine commandos of the Indian Navy, Naval Armament Depot, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, among other. A platoon of the NSG, too, was flown in and deployed in and around Uran.All educational institutions in Uran remained shut during the day and some reports said that even locals were not allowed to venture out of their homes during the combing operations. In fact, in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas, there were random checks by the local police.”Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command first alerted all coastal security stakeholders. Searches and other actions were initiated. The situation is being closely monitored in liaison with the police. No person has been located or apprehended till now,” said Commander Rahul Sinha, Indian Navy spokesperson.There was no headway till late Thursday evening. “The Maharashtra Director General of Police has been asked to submit a detailed report on the Uran terror alert by Friday,” said KP Bakshi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department.The identity of the two children hasn’t been disclosed.

Uran alert: CM Devendra Fadnavis appeals to citizens to stay calm, says precautions are being taken

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appealed to citizens on Thursday not to panic and said all precautions are being taken after a high alert was sounded along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas on Thursday after a group of men were spotted moving suspiciously near a naval base at Uran in Raigad district.Fadnavis who is enroute to Mumbai from United States, spoke to the state Director General of Police Satish Mathur, Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and Intelligence Commissioner. “CM @Dev_Fadnavis spoke to DGP , @CPMumbaiPolice and Intel Comm. All precautions are being taken. Massive combing operations are on,” the CMO Maharashtra tweeted.”State &Central forces are working in close Cordination. CM @Dev_Fadnavis has appealed citizens not to panic. Situation under close vigil,” it said in another tweet.Security beefed up at JNPTCountry’s largest container port JNPT has beefed up security measures at the port and in the vicinity following a high alert on security issued by law enforcement agencies, a senior official said. “We have beefed up the security measures and alerted all our staff. The CISF, which takes care of our security is on high alert and there has been an increase in the number of personnel out on the field,” a senior port official said.The official said the standard of surveillance in the port spread over 1,500 acres, adjoining to the fishing town of Uran where the suspects were spotted, has been upped, the official said. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) handles over half of the country’s container traffic which contributes significantly to the export-import trade. The official said the port and CISF are coordinating very closely with the local police, Navy and other agencies.Navy’s response to the alertA multi-agency search operations was initiated amidst the alert. “As per the reports, five to six persons were sighted in Pathan suits and appeared to be carrying weapons and backpacks,” Naval spokesperson Cdr Rahul Sinha said in a statement. Some reports said they were in military uniform. The Navy pressed its choppers for aerial surveillance and heightened patrolling in the sea by its vessels and high-speed boats.The Western Naval Command (WNC) issued a “highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts where several sensitive establishments and assets are located. Western India’s biggest naval base, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, fertiliser plants, refineries, power plants and the country’s largest container port, JNPT are located in close vicinity of Uran.The base located close to the town also houses units of MARCOS, the Navy’s elite strike force. Indian Navy’s Chief PRO Capt DK Sharma said the search operation was launched along with Maharashtra police and other agencies.Security situations across MumbaiSecurity has been beefed up at sensitive spots along the coast, including the Gateway of India, Raj Bhavan, offshore oil assets Bombay High, JNPT, BARC and other major establishments near the sea. “Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command expeditiously reacted to the situation by first initiating an alert and informing all coastal security stakeholders… No person has been located or apprehended till now,” Sinha added.Navi Mumbai Commissioner of Police rushed to the spotNavi Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Hemant Nagarale, and senior officials rushed to Uran to review the security situation and gathered details from the children, who spotted the men moving suspiciously.The coastline is guarded by a three-tier network which starts with the local police (with its coastal police stations) closest to the land, followed by the Union Home Ministry-led Coast Guard while the Indian Navy patrols the high seas. NSG deployedTeams of elite anti-terror commando force NSG have been deployed in three locations in Mumbai and another team has been kept ready in Delhi to be flown if required. Teams of National Security Guard, drawn from its Mumbai hub, pre-positioned at three locations in Mumbai and another team is on alert at NSG base in IGI airport in Delhi, official sources said.Precautionary action taken in Mumbai to cut down reaction time in case of any emergency situation, sources said.BackgroundSome children from Uran Education Society’s school first spotted the suspects, and their teacher informed the police, the police said, adding none of them have been traced.The alert comes four days after the terror attack in Uri in which 18 soldiers were killed. Coastal security has been a top priority after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which multiple locations in the city were targeted by Pakistani terrorists who landed using the sea route.The fishing town of Uran is located across the eastern water front of the financial capital.With PTI inputs

Mumbai on high alert after school children claim to spot armed men in Uran

High alert was issued along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas after a group of armed men were allegedly spotted by a few school children in Uran on Thursday leading to a massive search operation launched by multiple agencies.

Few children from Uran Education Society’s school have reportedly first spotted the suspects, and their teacher informed the police. However, according to IANS, Maharashtra Director-General of Police Satish Mathur said, “One student has claimed spotting one person, the other has claimed to have seen five. After this information, multiple agencies launched the probe.”

“Search operation is still on. Navi Mumbai police and coastal police along with the Navy are involved in a search operation which will be carried out throughout night. We have stationed one NSG platoon and 70 commandos of Force One (a state government force) in Navi Mumbai,” Mathur told PTI.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) later issued a “highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts where several sensitive establishments and assets are located. Indian Navy’s Chief PRO Captain DK Sharma said the search operation was launched along with Maharashtra Police and other agencies.

Mumbai police check passengers at a checkpost after a high alert was issued. PTI

Mumbai police check passengers at a checkpost after a high alert was issued. PTI

The National Security Guard (NSG), state police’s specialised commandos Force One and ATS, apart form the Mumbai police and Coast Guard have been roped in for the search operation. The Mumbai Police, however, said that none of the suspects have been been traced yet.

The NSG teams, drawn from its Mumbai hub, have been deployed at three locations in Mumbai and another team is on alert at NSG base in IGI airport in Delhi, official sources said, reported PTI.

As the news spread, conflicting reports emerged on whether the suspects were sighted in Pathan suits or in army fatigues. According to some reports, the children also said that they overheard the men conversing in an unfamiliar language, but could make out words like ‘ONGC’ and ‘school,’ which were reportedly being used repeatedly, according to ANI.  

The Defence PRO later said that though the situation is being monitored, no person has been located or apprehended.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted later in the evening that his government is taking all precautions and the state and central forces are keeping a close vigil. He also appealed to people to remain calm.

According to Times Now, Maharashtra Additional Home Secretary KP Bakshi has briefed the Union Ministry of Home Affairs about the situation in Uran. He told the news channel that the probe is being supervised by the DGP, Navi Mumbai and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval is keeping a close eye on the developments.

Advising the people to maintain calm, Bakshi claimed that the forces deployed on the ground are fully equipped to handle all terror threats. He has also asked the deputy general of police of Maharashtra to file a report on the terror alert by Friday.

The Navy pressed its choppers for aerial surveillance and heightened patrolling in the sea by its vessels and high-speed boats.

Security was also beefed up in parts of Mumbai and Raigad district following the terror alert. According to All India Radio, Mumbai police check-posts are scanning all vehicles around Girgaum Chowpati area while CNN-News18 reported that heavy security has been deployed in Uran.

Moreover, Colaba police station has sent out an alert to fishermen asking them to report any suspicious persons, or movement of unfamiliar boats around the Mumbai coast, according to a Firstpost correspondent.

Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar said that the government has taken the incident very seriously and urged people to remain calm. “There is no reason to doubt the information provided by the students. But it needs to be cross-checked. We already have the experience of (tackling) terror attacks in Mumbai,” Kesarkar told PTI.

Meanwhile, Gujarat was also put on alert and security agencies have been asked to keep a close vigil on the coastline, officials said. Additional DGP, Law and Order, Tirth Raj, said the Superintendents of Police (SPs) of coastal districts of Gujarat, along with officials handling the coastal security, have been asked to keep a tab on the activities.

“After a high alert sounded along the Mumbai coast today, we have also issued an alert along the Gujarat coast. All the district SPs of coastal areas have been asked to remain alert and step up security along the coast through continuous patrolling,” he said.

Coastal security has been a top priority after the 26/11 attacks, in which multiple locations in Mumbai were targeted by Pakistani terrorists who landed using the sea route. The fishing town of Uran is located across the eastern water front of the financial capital. The base located close to the town also houses units of MARCOS, the Navy’s elite strike force.

With inputs from agencies

Uri, Pathankot, Pampore: 35 soldiers killed, over 1,740 injured in attacks on Indian Army in 2016

Termed as the deadliest attack on the Indian Army since the Kaluchak tragedy in 2002, the attack at a battalion headquarters of the Army in north Kashmir’s Uri town on Sunday killed 17 jawans and injured 19 other personnel.

According to recent reports by ANI, another sepoy K Vikas Janardhan succumbed to his injuries at the R&R Hospital in New Delhi on Monday taking the death toll to 18.

The Indian Army has lost many of its valiant soldiers since the start of the year. These recent spate of attacks have claimed lives of at least 35 soldiers. Uri, however, will still be remembered as one of the deadliest.

Here are some of the major attacks on the Army in 2016:

The Indian Army has lost many of its valiant soldiers since the start of the year. Uri will, however, still be remembered as one of the deadliest. PTI

An Indian army soldier during the Uri attack. PTI

Pathankot airbase attack

Heavily-armed terrorists carried out a pre-dawn strike at the Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot, triggering a fierce gunbattle.

Around six terrorists in army attire tried to storm the base located at 35 kms from the international border. The terrorists were linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) as is the case with the Uri attack.

Seven soldiers died, including Lt Col Niranjan, who is a member of NSG’s bomb disposal squad. He died while sanitising a terrorist’s body during the attack.

One commando of the Indian Air Force’s special Garud unit and two Defence Security Corps personnel also died during the attack.

Pampore attack

At least eight CRPF personnel were killed and 24 injured after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists opened fire at a convoy belonging to the paramilitary force in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar near Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

The attack happened on the busy Srinagar-Jammu national highway when the security personnel were returning from a training exercise.

However, three more soldiers succumbed to their injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the ambush in Pampore on the CRPF personnel. “Would like to express my condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in today’s dastardly militant attack,” news agency ANI reported Mufti saying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the eight martyred CRPF personnel on Twitter saying that he was “pained by their demise.”

Kashmir unrest

As many as 81 people, including two soldiers, were killed in the unrest that broke out a day after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani was gunned down in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on 8 July.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh told the Parliament during the monsoon session that 1,700 civilians were injured in the violence. However, he also reminded the House that 1,740 jawans too were injured.

While foiling an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Naugam sector of Kashmir’s Kupwara district, two soldiers were killed in July, 2016.

Pakistan also resorted to unprovoked firing in Poonch district of Jammu in August, 2016. A policemen lost his life while three soldiers were injured.

As of 19 September, normal life remained disrupted in the Valley for the 73rd straight day as a curfew was clamped in Pulwama and Baramulla districts of Kashmir.

With inputs from agencies.

dna Morning Must Reads: Exclusive on Kumble-Laxman business partnership; 7th Pay Commission; and more

1. Exclusive: Laxman selected Kumble as coach while being shareholder in his firm Documents reveal that VVS Laxman, who was part of the committee that selected Anil Kumble as Team India’s coach, is the second biggest shareholder in Kumble’s company Tenvic Sports Education Private Ltd. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Member who blocked India’s entry into NSG must be held accountable, says USA week after India failed to get entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) due to China-led opposition, the US today said one country can break consensus in the atomic trading bloc and insisted that such member should be held accountable. Read more here3. 7th Pay Commission will drain exchequer of Rs 1 lakh crore but boost private consumption demand and economic activityIt may be one of the lowest pay hikes for the Central government staff and pensioners in the last few decades, but the overall 23.55% increment in their salaries, allowances and pensions resulting from the clearance of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday would cost the government a whopping Rs 1.02 lakh crore. Read more here4. Apple is being sued for $10 billion for stealing the iPhone’s designAn American by the name of Thomas S Ross filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc two days ago, claiming the company copied designs for his (Electronic reading Device) for their iPhone. Read more here5. Parineeti Chopra-Sushant Singh Rajput’s doosra?It will most likely be a busy year for Parineeti Chopra, who will sign four films this year, which includes director Homi Adajania’s next, starring Sushant Singh Rajput. The two actors were last seen together in 2013’s Shuddh Desi Romance. Read more here

Hina Rabbani Khar’s candour welcome, but won’t change India-Pakistan reality

Back in 2011, when Hina Rabbani Khar had flown into India as Pakistan’s first female foreign minister, Indian media swooned over the swish 34-year-old’s oversized Hermès Birkin bag, Roberto Cavalli sunglasses, pearl jewellery and model-like looks. Beyond the style though, there was substance. And a refreshingly new liberal approach.

During the joint news conference that had followed with her 79-year-old Indian counterpart SM Krishna, Khar impressed with her positive words and mature vision. She didn’t pick up the Kashmir issue even once and promised to usher in a new era in bilateral ties by announcing 14 new confidence-building measures. For an India still suffering the aftershocks of the 26 November. 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, this was a pleasant surprise.

Five years down the line, it is evident that Khar, who remains a Pakistan People’s Party member and delivers lectures on foreign policy — even though she has retired from active politics — hasn’t lost her breadth of vision.

Khar’s interview to GEO News channel is remarkable because it is perhaps for the first time on a public platform that a former Pakistan foreign minister has taken the lid off crippling insecurities that the state nurtures beyond the rhetorical template that largely defines its foreign policy vis-à-vis India.

Her pragmatism, while talking about the stickiest issues plaguing Pakistan, shone through. It was also a pointer to the liberalism that had marked her stint in public office in a country which remains steadfastly closeted.

Former Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. ReutersFormer Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Reuters

File image of former Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. Reuters

In 2010, President Asif Ali Zardari promised that Pakistan was ready to wage a 1,000-year war with India over Kashmir. And the woman who was appointed by Zardari as Pakistan’s youngest and first woman minister of foreign affairs, holds that Islamabad can never conquer Kashmir by going on the warpath.

“I believe that Pakistan cannot conquer Kashmir through war, and if we cannot do that, the option we are left with is dialogue; and dialogue can only proceed with a partner with which we have normal relations and a certain level of mutual trust,” Khar said in the interview.

She urged the Nawaz Sharif government, which has a majority, to do much more to lessen the hostility that marks Indo-Pak relations, claiming that the PPP government despite being a coalition had tried its best to normalise ties with India through relaxation of visa rules and by normalising trade ties.

Khar’s advice of reconciliation fits in well with Narendra Modi‘s vision. The Prime Minister has received a lot of flak for what has been termed as a blow-hot, blow cold Pakistan policy but during a recent interview to Times Now, Modi explained the rationale behind his consistent diplomatic overtures, holding that Pakistan has little to lose if India cancels talks.

Khar was also bang on in her assessment that a recent downturn in Pak-US ties and Obama administration’s tilt towards India (which earned a sarcastic reaction from China), has everything to do with India’s perception of a force being driven by economy, market and a counter-balance to China.

“Now let us ask ourselves, is US moving towards India because India is a nuclear state, or because it is a military power, no, it is people power and their democratic traditions, if we want to compete, lets compete on these grounds,” said Khar.

The maturity is perhaps only to be expected of a woman who despite coming from one of the poorest parts of Pakistan has broken through a lot of glass ceilings. With a background in economics and an MSc from the University of Massachusetts, Khar entered politics almost by default at the young age of 24 —contesting her first elections in 2002 on a family seat as her father Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar, wealthy landowner and former parliamentarian, became illegible to participate in polls under a new law because he didn’t have a college degree.

As a former minister of state for finance and economic affairs, two-time MP and one who earned nomination for Young Global Leader award, Khar strangely has always been considered as a bit of an outlier back home. Doubts were continuously raised over her un-Pakistanness and she was, unfairly, considered lacking in gravitas as a foreign minister.

Her comments on Pakistan’s ideological crisis amply demonstrates why she isn’t exactly a popular figure.

“In 60 years, we have taught our children that our national identity is to hate someone, and we are doing it with those who are physically the nearest. Hostile with India and now hostile with Afghanistan,” said the former foreign minister.

The candour is breathtaking.

It tackles the core problem of Pakistan. Is it, in fact, a country, or a site for an Islamic experiment in welding together the spiritual and temporal into a state, as General Ayub Khan had argued.

Pakistan’s raison d’être is hatred and fear of India. It is a country that defines itself in terms of India. In her book ‘Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War‘, academician and South Asian political and military affairs wonk C Christine Fair has extensively written on how Pakistan views India as a “Hindu” nation because that makes it easier for them to set up a civilisational battle. These are well-documented arguments.

But Khar, a former foreign minister, deserves full respect for her disarming sincerity. Beyond that, however, whether it will have any effect at all on Pakistan’s relationship with India is doubtful.

Even as Khar gave the interview, the very office which she occupied once, gloated on Monday how Pakistan’s intensive diplomatic lobbying, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif personally writing to 17 prime ministers, prevented India from gaining entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India joins elite missile control group MTCR

India joins the Missile Technology Control Regime after years of diplomatic negotiations.

No #UdtaPM, Narendra Modi’s foreign policy is clear, rooted in realpolitik

At the height of Udta Punjab controversy, social media had another top trend. Many of those who were posting on Twitter with the hashtag #UdtaPM were ridiculing the Prime Minister’s propensity to fly around the world to either hard-sell India as an investment destination or to garner support for the government’s ambitious push for seats in high tables.

Foreign policy has remained Narendra Modi‘s key focus area ever since he assumed office. The Prime Minister has been very proactive in external affairs, be it focusing on India’s immediate neighbours with ‘Neighbourhood First’ initiative, wooing the US Congress, approaching Switzerland to gain backing over NSG inclusion or flying to Iran to sign the Chabahar pact.

But critics — media, the Opposition and even some in his own party — have repeatedly criticised Modi for what they claim is a scattergun approach to foreign relations campaign. It is said that he relies too much on charm and oratory skills to bulldoze the balance of power on international arena that remains a brutally cold and calculated exercise.

Modi’s personal ambition and breathtaking pace, goes the criticism, have actually been counter-productive when it comes to external affairs and he has over-extended himself and India’s case while doing so.

In 2015, for instance, Modi set a scorching pace in visiting 28 countries and welcomed leaders from 12 countries, including the US, Germany, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bhutan.

Narendra Modi during TimesNow interview. ScreengrabNarendra Modi during TimesNow interview. Screengrab

Narendra Modi during TimesNow interview. Screengrab

While talking to Times Now in an interview that was aired on Monday, Modi made it clear this was necessary because world leaders didn’t know what he stood for except viewing him through the prism of media.

“The world did not know me; and the world wanted to know who the new (Indian) prime minister is. If someone tries to know Modi through the eyes of the media, they will be confused. If that happened, it will be a loss. My personality shouldn’t be a hindrance for the world to have faith in India.

“So, if I had not met world leaders and talked to them, they would not have known the Prime Minister of India. I was not a member of a political family. I was new; so being proactive was important for me,” he said.

The point is, said the prime minister, that in an increasingly interconnected world, India cannot remain steadfastly tied to a corner.

“We need to understand that the world was bipolar earlier on. The foreign policy would be centered around two super powers. India was a little late in realising that this bipolar situation was a mirage. Now, the entire world, in changed circumstances, especially in the 21st century, is more inter-dependent and inter-connected… There’s been a shift in paradigm.”

Modi said that not coming from a political family and having no background in the field were helps, not hindrances, as he doesn’t have to carry any baggage and press the ‘reset’ button where necessary.

“Because I do not have any previous baggage, because I had a clean slate, I write everything from beginning and that has a benefit. Today, we are building relations with countries across the world. The amount of respect with which I engage Saudi Arabia, I engage Iran with the same amount of respect. The amount of respect with which I speak to America, I speak to Russia with the same amount of respect. We need to understand this. We also need to understand that we shouldn’t consider smaller countries insignificant. I abide by this principle.”

This isn’t a man steeped in hubris who is in a hurry to build a legacy on steroids. The prime minister appears to be a man aware of his and India’s role on world stage and presents a refreshing new gaze on the way the country must engage with neighbours.

China, which stonewalled India’s audacious bid for NSG membership, presents an entirely new challenge though. Its growing political, military and economic clout make it increasingly assertive many areas where India’s active interest will be involved.

On being asked why China repeatedly is blocking us despite the PM’s personal proactive measures and outreach, Modi’s answer was diplomatic, non-confrontational and pointed to his grasp of the realpolitik. He played down the NSG setback as a “continuing process” and said that both countries have differences but do not need to be adversaries.

“The first thing is that we have an ongoing dialogue with China and it should continue to happen. In foreign policy it’s not necessary to have similar views to have a conversation. Even when the views are contradictory, talks are the only way forward and problems should be resolved through dialogue. We don’t have one problem with China, we have a whole lot of problems pending with China. Slowly and steadily, an effort is on to address these issues through talks and make them less cumbersome.

“I can say that China has been cooperating with India to search for solutions. On some issues, it’s a question of principles for them. On some issues, it’s a question of principles for us. On some issues they differ with us and there are issues on which we differ with them. There are some basic differences.

“But the most important thing is that we can speak to China eye-to-eye and put forth India’s interests in the most unambiguous manner.”

On Pakistan, the prime minister pointed to multiple power centres to clarify the NDA government’s position which has been slammed as knee-jerk. He said the democratically elected government in Pakistan lacks heft which makes it difficult to carry out policy initiatives.

“The first thing is that with whom in Pakistan will you decide the ‘lakshman rekha (the red line)’ — with the elected government or with other actors? So India will have to be alert and conscious all the time. There should not be any laxity and negligence.”

Modi said that his continuous Pakistan outreach has convinced the international community that India wants peace and harmony and Pakistan is under increasing pressure to explain its stand.

“There is an outcome due to my continuous efforts like my visit to Lahore and my invitation to the Pakistani prime minister to come to India. Now I don’t have to explain to the world about India’s position. The world is unanimously appreciating India’s position. And the world is seeing that Pakistan is finding it difficult to respond. Today the world has to accept what India has been saying about terrorism. So I believe we have to take this process forward.”

Wilful defaulters, I will show you what law can do, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that he would give willful defaulters a taste of the law, work towards bringing back black money, continue engage China and Pakistan, and also urged media not to make heroes of those diverting from politics of development to that of religion and hatred. Speaking to a TV channel, he also took to defence of RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, saying that those creating controversies are doing great injustice to him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on former IPL chief Lalit Modi and liquor baron Vijay Mallya, both of whom fled to London after committing alleged financial frauds, Modi said: “Kanoon kya hota hai, yeh mein un logo ko dikhaoonga (I will show them what law can do). The public are sure that if anyone can do this, it is Narendra Modi and I would certainly do it.”On black money hoarded by Indians abroad”Our sincerity can be judged from the decision to set up an SIT at the first Cabinet meeting itself. Yet another big outcome during my recent trip to Switzerland is the deal on automatic exchange of information to get names of all those hoarding money in banks there. Further, steps have been taken to ensure no more black money is generated in India that can be illegally taken abroad.On promise to put Rs 15 lakh in bank account of every IndianLeave it for the Opposition to make an issue of it.On failing to clinch NSG dealIt’ is true that my trip to the United States, my speech at the US Congress and the respect they showered on India created a lot of hype. Had it not been hyped so much, there would not have been so much criticism on the NSG issue. Government is being criticised not for mishandling the NSG issue but because we were so successful over there (US). The process has begun on a positive note. Everything is governed by its own rules. Things will move forward as per rules.It is true that after this government took over, SCO has been achieved, MTCR membership has been achieved. I am fully confident that we have begun efforts in the direction of the NSG (membership), formally. The process has begun on a positive note.On RBI governor Raghuram RajanThose who are creating controversies are being unjust to Raghuram Rajan. I believe Rajan’s patriotism is no less than any of ours. It will be doing injustice to him if one says that he will serve the country only if he is in a particular post. As much as I know Rajan, whatever post he holds, wherever he is, he is someone who will continue to serve the country. He is someone who loves his country. Therefore, it’s not like the nation won’t get Rajan’s services, Rajan is not that kind of a person. He is a person who loves the country. Those who speak such language are doing great injustice to him. My experience with him has been good. I appreciate the work he has done. And my good wishes will always be with him…On dealing with the dragonWe have initiated a dialogue process with China and it should continue. It’s not necessary to have similar views for holding dialogue. Even when there are difference of opinion, talks are the only way forward. It’s not just one problem, we have a whole lot of problems with China. There are so many issues… slowly and steadily we have to find solutions to them, one by one.On Laxman rekha for PakistanI would especially like to appeal to my country’s media that we stop tagging ourselves with another country and try do things….With whom in Pakistan you will talk and decide on Laxman rekha – with an elected government or with other actors? India will have to be alert and conscious all the time. Because of consistent efforts like the visit to Lahore and inviting the Pak PM here, we no longer have to convince the world about India’s stand on terrorism.Pakistan is finding it difficult to answer. If we remain an obstacle then we will have to convince the world that we are not like this. Earlier, the world would not buy India’s theory on terrorism and sometime it would even treat it as law and order problem. Now the whole world is accepting what India says on terrorism. It is accepting the loss terror caused to India and to humanity.On his diplomacy, outreachThe world did not know me. The world wants to know who is the head of the state. If the world know Modi through the eyes of the media, it would be disillusioned. I am not from a political family. I was not born into a political family. So meeting world leaders was not something I was accustomed to.”I came without a baggage. I can talk to Saudi Arabia, US, Russia… with the same amount of respect. I do not consider small countries insignificant. We have been living under the shadow of bigger countries, I changed that. Geo-politics has changed. World is more inter-dependent and interconnected. People-to-people ties matter tremendously.On Parliament’s functioning…It’s wrong to blame the entire opposition for creating trouble as it was basically the Congress that was not allowing debate. I agree there are a lot of problems. Whether we should be blamed or others, I leave it to the people to decide. The sad part is they are running away from debate. This is a serious issue for a democracy. Parliament is there for debate and to express one’s opposition. The responsibility of saving this spirit of Parliament is with all those who support democracy.On hotheads in his partyDo not make heroes of people who politicise religion. I’m of the firm belief that the nation should progress on the issue of development. I would like to call upon the media not to make heroes out of such people.Humour in public lifeThere is no humour left in public life because of the fear factor. Everyone is scared. Me too. My speeches used to be humorous. I see it in Parliament… no humour is left there. It’s a matter of concern…

Congress likely to raise Swamy’s jibes, NSG rebuff in Monsoon session of Parliament

Trouble is brewing for government in the Monsoon session of Parliament, which is expected to start next month, with main opposition Congress on Monday hinting at stacking up ammunition on issues like failure at NSG, terror strikes and diatribes of Subramanian Swamy.”Parliament will have an interesting session this time,” party spokesman Kapil Sibal told reporters.Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi over a host of issues, especially India’s failure at the NSG meet, he said that the Prime Minister should realise that “diplomacy is not a sound and light show”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our Prime Minister has no knowledge of diplomacy. It is not a Sound & Light show. Foreign policy is done with a sense of maturity. Diplomacy is conducted in very silent, sober manner. But, we see none of that,” Sibal said, remarking that the “Prime Minister likes to be on TV”.Taking a dig at the Prime Minister over his remarks on the NSG issue, he wondered as to what was the point of saying Mexico and Switzerland were on India’s side? “We love Modiji, but we love India more. Do not lower its image in the international community by light and sound shows,” he said, reminding the Prime Minister that the 123 agreement with the US was achieved by India during the UPA rule “without pomp and show”.He said that senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who was the External Affairs Minister in the NDA-1 Government, had wondered as to why India was pushing for an entry into the NSG when it has got the waiver way back in 2008.Raising the issue of terror strikes, he alleged that “the product of Modi Government’s foreign policy is Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Pampore. That’s the reality on the ground”.Referring to Modi’s surprise Lahore visit, he said that the Prime Minister during the UPA tenure never went to Pakistan to celebrate weddings and birthdays. In fact, the Prime Minister in the UPA era made it clear that while India wanted talks, normalisation of ties with Pakistan was not possible till it cooperated in bringing to book those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, he said.Claiming that 50 terrorists have crossed the Pakistan border in past five months, he said that they have continued attacking Indian soldiers. “We want to ask the Prime Minister till when are we supposed to suffer these attacks?”.Sibal also attacked the RSS for plans to hold Iftar parties. “While our security forces are getting martyred, RSS is busy holding Iftar parties for Pakistani diplomats,” he said recalling the way Modi used to target the UPA on the issue.Replying to a question on BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, Sibal wondered as to what is the use of the Prime Minister now disapproving Swamy’s attacks when RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has already said no to a second term.

Despite ‘whole lot of problems with China’, PM Modi confident of NSG bid

Notwithstanding China objecting to India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday exuded confidence that the country will get membership of the bloc and the process for it has begun on a “positive note”.Modi said India has a number of problems with China and efforts are on to resolve them one-by-one through talks. Asked during an interview whether he was disappointed as China blocked India’s bid for membership of the NSG and how close it was to getting it, Modi only said things will move forward as per rules. The Prime Minister said successive governments have made consistent efforts for getting membership of the UN Security Council, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and NSG.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”First thing is that India has taken up such efforts consistently whichever government was in power — be it membership of UN Security Council, SCO or MTCR or NSG. All of us made efforts. “It is not only this government which has done this. This is in continuity. It is true that in our tenure, SCO has been achieved, MTCR membership has been achieved. I am fully confident that we have begun efforts in the direction of the NSG (membership), formally.”The process has begun on a positive note. Everything is governed by its own rules. Things will move forward as per rules,” he told Times Now channel.Asked about China scuttling India’s NSG bid and its efforts to get Masood Azhar banned by the UN despite Modi’s frequent interactions with Chinese President Xi Jingping, the Prime Minister said efforts are on to resolve issues with that country through talks. “We have an ongoing dialogue with China and it should continue. In foreign policy, it is not necessary to have similar views to have a dialogue. Even when there are contradictions, talks are the only way forward and problem should be resolved through dialogue.”We do not have one problem with China, we have a whole lot of problems pending with China. There are so many issues. Slowly and steadily efforts are on to find solutions to them one-by-one,” said Modi. He said China has also been cooperative towards finding solutions.”But there are some issues in which we differ from them and they differ from us. But the most important thing is that we are now talking to China eye-to-eye and raising the issues of Indian interests boldly. Three days back I met the Chinese President and put forward issues relating to India’s interests strongly,” he said.

China refutes India’s allegation, says ‘many countries had views’on NSG bid of non-NPT countries

Days after India blamed “one country” for blocking its entry into NSG, China on Monday said “many countries” had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the nuclear trading club as it harped on the need for forging consensus over the issue.”As we have learnt, the plenary meeting issued a news release that the meeting held discussions on technical legal and political issues regarding the accession of non-NPT members and agreed to continue with such discussions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing. Asked about India blaming “one country” of blocking the entry of new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by raising procedural objections, Hong said at the plenary meeting in Seoul “many countries had expressed their views on the accession of non-NPT countries into the group.” “We believe that they should forge a consensus and then make a decision based on consultations and thorough discussions regarding the entry of the specific country,” he said, without directly referring to India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to reports about the appointment of Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi as the “facilitator” for informal consultations on India’s admission into NSG, Hong said, “We have never heard of any follow up steps.” Hong also did not respond to a question on reports that NSG is expected to meet again later this year after Mexico’s initiative to discuss the entry of non-NPT members into the grouping. “This is what we know about this plenary meeting. I also want to point out that for quite a long time, including in plenary in Seoul, China has been prompting the NSG to have thorough discussions on accession of non-NPT countries,” Hong said.India and Pakistan, who applied for membership of the 48-member NSG, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which China insists is a must for joining the grouping. China was unrelenting in thwarting India’s NSG bid last week despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India’s case on its merits.An upset India later accused “one country”, a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.

After failed NSG bid, India to become full member of MTCR today

In its first entry into any multilateral export control regime, India is all set to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on Monday as a full member, three days after it failed to get NSG membership due to stiff opposition from China and a few other countries.”We applied for the membership of MTCR last year and all the procedural formalities have been completed. On Monday, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will sign the document of accession into MTCR in the presence of Ambassadors of France, Netherlands and Luxembourg,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Significantly, China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just- concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of 34-nation MTCR.Since its civil nuclear deal with the US, India has been trying to get into export control regimes like NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies.India’s case in MTCR was opposed last year by Italy which is not happy with New Delhi over the marines dispute. However, after both marines, accused of murdering two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, were allowed to return, the Italians have softened their opposition.India’s efforts to get into the MTCR also got a boost after it agreed to join the Hague Code of Conduct, dealing with the ballistic missile non-proliferation arrangement, earlier this month.MTCR membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia.The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction

dna Morning Must Reads: Chile beat Argentina in Copa America final; 50 LeT cadres cross into J&K; Updates on India’s NSG bid; and more

50 LeT cadres cross into Jammu and KashmirThe Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) has pushed in 50 of its cadres to carry out terror strikes in southern and central Kashmir, intelligence sources say. Read more here Copa America 2016 Final: Messi misses spot kick as Chile beat Argentina 4-2 in tie-breaker to win title<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Read all the highlights from the match here Hope still alive: NSG inter-plenary meeting in November to consider India’s bidIndia is not out of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) sweepstakes yet. The US and other friendly countries are working behind the scenes to keep the country’s hopes alive. Read more here Britain ‘may never’ trigger formal divorce process with the EU: DiplomatsBritain ‘may never’ trigger the formal divorce process with the EU despite last week’s referendum in which the country voted to leave, EU diplomats have said. Read more hereDomestic equities likely to remain choppy as Brexit outcome widensDomestic equity markets are likely to have a mixed trading session on Monday as the scope of Brexit widens in the UK and lawmakers decide the path of the eventual breakaway from the European Union. Read more hereBeen living out of suitcase for the past one year: Priyanka ChopraPriyanka Chopra on the year ahead, the offers she has and the number of projects — one Indian, the other international — that she intends to take up… Read more here

NSG inter-plenary meeting in November to consider India’s bid

India is not out of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) sweepstakes yet. The US and other friendly countries are working behind the scenes to keep the country’s hopes alive.Sources say there is a possibility of an inter-plenary meeting sometime in November to discuss the process for allowing non-Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories. The NSG has set up a panel, headed by Argentine ambassador Rafael Grossi, for informal consultations on India’s membership, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After India’s bid to seek a membership failed in Seoul, it attacked China in its official statement, saying “one country” raised procedural hurdles repeatedly. It didn’t, however, mention other countries like Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, Mexico and Brazil, which also raised objections.Even Ireland and New Zealand also blocked India’s entry, wanting the non-NPT criteria to be spelt out first. Ironically, most of the countries which raised objections were the ones where had made a personal outreach. They even prevailed to draft the operative para of the NSG statement that almost closed the door till India agrees to sign the NPT.The NSG statement says: “Participating governments reiterated their firm support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime.”External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, however, asserted that India has already implemented all NPT provisions. “As far as NSG is concerned, it said the implementation of NPT is important to the extent that the goalpost remains the implementation of the NPT. We believe we have met the criteria and have all credentials to be an NSG member,” he said.Rejecting that Seoul meeting was a huge setback for Indian diplomacy, Swarup said these are continuing processes and we will continue to work very actively on this. “Today, Indian diplomacy doesn’t have fear of failure. If we don’t get the desired results, it only means we redouble our efforts,” he said.But many analysts wonder why India is so keen on the membership when it already has a waiver for civil nuclear trade. Further, since 2011, the NSG has incorporated a rule that would deny enrichment and reprocessing technologies even to members if they have not signed the NPT. This means even if India becomes a member, it will be condemned to a second-class membership.Meanwhile, former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Sunday joined the Opposition, calling it an ’embarrassment’ to India. He said there was no need for India to bid for membership as it stands to ‘lose and not gain’. He even alleged that people sitting in the government were ‘misguiding it every day’.He said India should not have gone to the elite grouping as an ‘applicant’ and should not accept NSG membership as it has already got what it needs. “I come under the category of brain dead. My class is that I do not have the status of giving any suggestion. I am saying this openly that I cannot even give suggestions. But I have publicly opposed the policy of my own government which they are following with Pakistan. If I have some experience of (issues involving) Pakistan and about foreign policy, I can say that nothing will come out of this (present policy). In two years, nothing has come out,” he said.BJP spokesman MJ Akbar, however, maintained that NSG membership was only a matter of time, and not too much time either.

Glimmer of hope: NSG likely to meet again before end of the year to discuss entry of non-NPT countries

NSG is likely to meet again before the end of the year to discuss membership of non-NPT signatories like India, which on Sunday made it clear to China, responsible for torpedoing its recent bid, that it was necessary to take care of India’s “interests” for forward movement in bilateral ties.The 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is likely to meet again before the end of the year specially to discuss the process for granting membership to non-NPT signatories, thus providing another chance to India to press its claims after it failed to seal its entry into NSG at the plenary which concluded in Seoul on Friday. India faced strong opposition from China and a few other countries and the fact that it is not a signatory to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was used for foiling India’s bid.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, diplomatic sources today said that at the suggestion of Mexico, it has now been decided that another meeting of NSG should be held before the end of the year to consider the entry criteria for non-NPT countries. Normally, the next meeting of NSG would have been held sometime next year. Even as it emerged that NSG is likely to meet in the next few months, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “We will keep impressing upon China that mutual accommodation of interests, concerns and priorities is necessary to move forward bilateral ties.” His comments assume significance in the backdrop of Chinese Foreign Ministry’s assertion that Beijing’s opposition at NSG, which is a multi-lateral platform, will not impact the India-China ties adversely.Swarup also said that though India did not get “expected results” at the Seoul meeting, the country will continue to make determined efforts to get into NSG. “Today, the Indian diplomacy doesn’t have fear of failure. If we don’t get desired results it only means that we redouble our efforts,” Swarup said. “There are some processes which take longer, I would evaluate the NSG membership process in that category,” he said. China had voiced its opposition to Mexico’s suggestion for an early NSG meeting on non-NPT countries’ membership but the proposition found support from a large number of countries including the US. A panel for informal consultations on India’s membership has also been set up by the NSG and it will be headed by Argentine Ambassador Rafael Grossi. Grossi’s appointment came even as a top US official said that the NSG session in Seoul had ended with a “path forward” for India’s acceptance as a member. “We are confident that we have got a path forward by the end of this year. It needs some work. But we are confident that India would be a full member of the (NSG) regime by the end of the year,” the Obama administration official told PTI in Washington.China was unrelenting in thwarting India’s NSG bid despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Tashkent on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit to support India’s case on its merits. An upset India later accused “one country”, a clear reference to China, of persistently creating procedural hurdles during the discussions on its application.

After Congress, BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha flays Modi’s NSG strategy

The Modi government came under fresh attack over India’s failed bid for NSG membership, with BJP veteran Yashwant Sinha saying there was no need for approaching the bloc as an “applicant” as Congress termed the push for entering the elite grouping as “event management” which “embarrassed” the nation.Sinha said India stood to “lose and not gain” by becoming a member of the 48-nation grouping and alleged that people sitting in the government were “misguiding it every day.” “India which has shown so much keenness and desperation in getting NSG membership, it is not required at all. We are comfortable outside NSG. If we become members of NSG, we will have more loss. There will be no gains for us.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I say this strongly that India should not accept the NSG membership. We should not go there as an applicant. Whatever we had to get, we have got it,” 83-year-old Sinha, who has been critical of the government after being marginalised in the party, said.His comments came after India failed to make the cut despite intense lobbying, including a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tashkent as some countries backed by Beijing blocked New Delhi’s entry into the NSG on the ground that it was not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”Whether those sitting in the government understand this (issue) or not, I do not know. But I know this that such people are sitting in government who are misguiding it every day,” Sinha said.Sinha, who was External Affairs minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, has spoken out against various aspects of Modi government’s foriegn policy, especially its handling of relations with Pakistan.Gloating over the Modi government’s failure, Congress termed the vigorous push for NSG membership as “event management” and accused it of “embarrassing” the nation with its “misplaced euphoria”.”There was no reason for our government to file the application. It was ill-advised — the desperation, which the Prime Minister showed and also the prematured claims, which he made when he went to Switzerland and Mexico as if everybody is endorsing us,” former Union Minister and senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said. Another party spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said there was no need for this “event management on NSG”.”There were huge celebrations that Switzerland and various other countries are supporting us. But eight to nine countries opposed us including Switzerland,” he said.

India to become full member of MTCR on Monday

In its first entry into any multilateral export control regime, India is all set to join the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on Monday as a full member, three days after it failed to get NSG membership due to stiff opposition from China and a few other countries.”We applied for the membership of MTCR last year and all the procedural formalities have been completed. Tomorrow, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will sign the document of accession into MTCR in the presence of Ambassadors of France, Netherlands and Luxembourg,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Sunday. Significantly, China, which stonewalled India’s entry into the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the just- concluded Seoul plenary, is not a member of 34-nation MTCR.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since its civil nuclear deal with the US, India has been trying to get into export control regimes like NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies. India’s case in MTCR was opposed last year by Italy which is not happy with New Delhi over the marines dispute. However, after both marines, accused of murdering two fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012, were allowed to return, the Italians have softened their opposition.India’s efforts to get into the MTCR also got a boost after it agreed to join the Hague Code of Conduct, dealing with the ballistic missile non-proliferation arrangement, earlier this month.MTC membership will enable India to buy high-end missile technology and also enhance its joint ventures with Russia.The aim of the MTCR is to restrict the proliferation of missiles, complete rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles and related technology for those systems capable of carrying a 500 kilogramme payload for at least 300 kilometres, as well as systems intended for the delivery of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

India’s NSG bid ‘ill-advised’, membership won’t make much difference: AEC member

Noted scientist and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) member M R Srinivasan on Saturday said the Centre’s push to gain Nuclear Suppliers Group membership was “unnecessary, unwarranted and ill-advised”, a day after India failed in its bid to clinch membership of the 48-member club.The AEC, a body under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), would have advised the government to desist from such a move had it been consulted, he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Srinivasan, a former Chairman of the AEC, which looks after atomic energy activities in the country, argued that NSG membership does not make a difference to India’s nuclear commerce as New Delhi has signed agreements with other countries for supply of reactors and uranium. “Unnecessarily, India made a big hype about this admission into the NSG. It was completely unnecessary because the 2008 waiver was already enabling us to have nuclear commerce with nuclear advanced countries and we already have agreements with Russia, France and the United States for reactor projects…,” he said in an interview to PTI today.India also has uranium buying agreement with multiple countries, including Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, Srinivasan noted, adding it was an “unwarranted and ill-advised initiative” to seek entry into the group of nuclear-supplier countries set up in 1974.The Padma Bhushan awardee said failure to get in NSG would not have adverse impact on India’s nuclear programme as New Delhi has its own capability “for designing and building reactors and fuel manufacturing, reprocessing and so on.” “On the ground, it won’t make any difference (on failure to get NSG membership). We already have a waiver. We are already having cooperation with important countries and countries who are able to supply uranium. There was no need for us to subject ourselves to embarrassment. Unfortunately, our (India’s) self-esteem has been dented (with this failure),” the well-known 86-year-old nuclear scientist said.”(Had) the matter been initially brought to the Atomic Energy Commission, (of) which I am still a member, and if they (the Government) had asked if we (the Government) should proceed with this issue (seeking NSG entry), I would have said the same thing — ‘don’t raise the issue’,” he said.”But it was not brought to the Atomic Energy Commission. It’s unfortunate. It was thought to be the preserve of Foreign Office…Ministry of External Affairs…I do not know. Needless drama (India’s diplomatic push on NSG membership) has gone on for a number of days,” he said.

NSG membership push by India “unnecessary, ill-advised and unwarranted”: Srinivasan

Hyderabad: Noted scientist and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) member M R Srinivasan said on Saturday that the Centre’s push to gain Nuclear Suppliers Group membership was “unnecessary, unwarranted and ill-advised”, a day after India failed in its bid to clinch membership of the 48-member club.

The AEC, a body under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), would have advised the government to desist from such a move had it been consulted, he said.

Srinivasan, a former Chairman of the AEC, which looks after atomic energy activities in the country, argued that NSG membership does not make a difference to India’s nuclear commerce as New Delhi has signed agreements with other countries for supply of reactors and uranium.

“Unnecessarily, India made a big hype about this admission into the NSG. It was completely unnecessary because the 2008 waiver was already enabling us to have nuclear commerce with nuclear advanced countries and we already have agreements with Russia, France and the United States for reactor projects…,” he said in an interview to PTI.

India also has uranium buying agreement with multiple countries, including Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, Srinivasan noted, adding it was an “unwarranted and ill-advised initiative” to seek entry into the group of nuclear-supplier countries set up in 1974.

The Padma Bhushan awardee said failure to get in NSG would not have adverse impact on India’s nuclear programme as New Delhi has its own capability “for designing and building reactors and fuel manufacturing, reprocessing and so on.”

Representational image. Getty imagesRepresentational image. Getty images

Representational image. Getty images

“On the ground, it won’t make any difference (on failure to get NSG membership). We already have a waiver. We are already having cooperation with important countries and countries who are able to supply uranium. There was no need for us to subject ourselves to embarrassment. Unfortunately, our (India’s) self-esteem has been dented (with this failure),” the well-known 86-year-old nuclear scientist said.

“(Had) the matter been initially brought to the Atomic Energy Commission, (of) which I am still a member, and if they (the Government) had asked if we (the Government) should proceed with this issue (seeking NSG entry), I would have said the same thing — ‘don’t raise the issue’,” he said.

“But it was not brought to the Atomic Energy Commission. It’s unfortunate. It was thought to be the preserve of Foreign Office…Ministry of External Affairs…I do not know. Needless drama (India’s diplomatic push on NSG membership) has gone on for a number of days,” he said.

Srinivasan, who played a key role in the development of India’s nuclear power programme and Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), said that no evaluation was made about the perceived benefits of NSG membership.

“…whether we should have put so much efforts…Prime Minister going to so many countries, canvassing (for NSG entry). Somebody from Foreign Office who has done evaluation, either they did evaluation and their assumptions were not borne out or evaluation was not properly carried out. I am unhappy that we should put so much importance to this thing (NSG membership),” he said.

Needless expectations were raised on becoming part of the group and so much political capital at the highest level
of Government of India and Prime Minister was deployed for the purpose, the noted scientist said.

“It was a quest we could have well avoided and an embarrassment we could well have avoided,” he said, pointing out that India should have sensed the mood with China and some other countries raising objections to India’s membership.

He also found fault with the media’s description of the NSG as an “elite group”.

“How can a 48-member NSG be an elite group? It got members like New Zealand, Ireland…all these people who have no nuclear programme of any kind,” he said.

India’s NSG dream: It’s time to assess true nature of China’s opposition

The Chinese veto on India’s determined bid to enter the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is Narendra Modi’s first major foreign policy reverse, even though this may not be permanent. But it shows the kind of misplaced assumptions driving his policy in regard to India’s two main adversaries – China and Pakistan. At NSG, the two adversaries combined with some neutrals to block India.

This reverse could have been anticipated by anyone who has an elementary understanding of power play and geopolitics when combined with national interest. Simply put, it is not in China’s national interest to allow India a greater role in international politics. It is not in its interest to ease India’s path to growth where its economic or military clout will challenge China. So why do we expect China to play a positive role when it comes to our interests?

The arguments used by China to halt India’s entry into the NSG may or may not have validity in our eyes. But surely it does have a technical point in saying entry must be based on formal criteria for entry? China has cleverly used India’s non-ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Pakistan’s (equal) claims to block the entry, even garnering stray support from the likes of Turkey, Austria, Brazil, New Zealand, Switzerland and Ireland.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. File photo. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. File photo. PTI

The reason for this is obvious too: China’s global economic and political heft, and the little countries’ own sense of importance, which will diminish if big players like India enter the scene. One can only guess at the behind-the-scenes arm-twisting and blandishments offered by China to the smaller members of the NSG to get them to resist pressures from other big gorillas in the global power league, including the US, and other permanent members of the UN Security Council. The US interest in helping India may be obvious, but what do New Zealand or Turkey (which is fast becoming an Islamist state) gain from backing India?

It is this inability of our strategists to understand elementary principles of global politics and power that is baffling.

While Narendra Modi has worked hard for a deal, one cannot but conclude that our expectation that it could happen this time was unreasonable. We assumed that when some of the western powers are ready to back us, China will fall in line. But that is not the way big power politics works. China has replaced Russia as the world’s No 2 superpower. The growing US-India axis has raised hackles in Beijing, and China is strengthening its alliance with Pakistan to keep us off balance.

This misstep indicates how India seems unprepared to take a hard-headed view of the true nature of the opposition it faces from China. India is both a civilisational and strategic threat to China, especially now that India has chosen to get closer to the US.

In a club where consensus is the norm, it needs only one big power to say no and entry can be barred. So before pushing our case with aggressive diplomacy, we should have got an informal nod from China on whether it would bloc our entry, and at what price it will consider a positive response. This would have been fairly easy to ascertain, but we still ignored the signals and went the whole hog with our bid. Seeking China’s concurrence last was tantamount to ensuring a firm “no” from the Dragon. China is never scared of playing hardball. The only language China understands is power. Handshakes and smiles and selfies matter little to it once it has decided what is in its best interests.

To be sure, we have not lost anything more than face. But it was unnecessary. We now have to up our learning curve on playing hardball. There are clear lessons to ‎be learnt from this avoidable fiasco. Among them:

1) We should not rush into battle before we have our strategy, including an exit strategy, in place. The Abhimanyu logic of getting into a Chakravyuh without knowing how to get out is folly. Raw courage without an exit strategy is fine in a suicide bomber, but not someone who wants to win and stay alive.

2) We have to understand our opposition and enemies better. How did our diplomats and the PMO even start believing we are in with a chance when China has shown unremitting hostility and opposition to our great power ambitions — not just at NSG, but also the UN Security Council, among other things. The first step to winning is to know your enemy.

3) Personal equations are for optics, and not central to success. It is certainly not a substitute for building leverage with key players, including naysayers. Let’s say you want to build leverage with China. The time to begin is not a few weeks before the Seoul meeting, but at least two years before that, if not more. China may be interested in a bargain provided you have something to give in return that it values.

Alternately, you should have the capacity to damage its interests. For example, the India-China trade balance is skewed. China exports three times as much to us as we export to them. If you want leverage this imbalance in your favour in 2018, you should start applying the pressure on Chinese imports little by little from today and start muttering about trade imbalance regularly. We should start erecting non-tariff barriers, starting with one innocuous product, gauge their response, and then extend it to some others. Otherwise, we will end up with Nehru’s flawed “Forward” strategy, without building an ability to counter an aggressive response from China, if it comes. We should, at any rate, start making noises about the quality of Chinese goods, and start clamping down in innocuous products and then do the same with more critical products. You can, at some time, start a trade war if the opponent has more to lose than you. But it takes time to make sure you don’t get charred by the same fire you start.

Then there is the positive side of leverage – the carrot before the stick. We should be dangling big infrastructure contracts and make it clear that award depends on them backing us on NSG or whatever. Pakistan has done this successfully by getting the Chinese interested in their infrastructure. A $28 billion investment is planned in Pakistan. This Chinese investment is not dictated purely by friendship with Pakistan alone, though that has its uses, but by Chinese security interests. China is worried about both Tibet and Xinjiang, and the road to Islamic insurgency in Xinjiang runs through Pakistan. China wants to control that road.

4) We must always have plan B. We can’t bargain with anybody — NSG or UNSC — if they know you need them more than they need you. We should, for example, fast forward work on our thorium-based nuclear technology and fast-breeders. We should, in fact, also plan for a post-nuclear energy world, so that NSG becomes redundant at some point. We should consider developing tactical nuclear weapons and throw a broad hint that it will be used only in case India faces a threat by a stronger power (Hint: China, not Pakistan).

5) Morality has little role in power play. Remember the story of the prodigal son? He is the one who gets the great welcome, not the son who never strayed from the good path. North Korea, the world’s ultimate rogue nation, gets regular doses of bribes from the world for not going further rogue. Pakistan has been repeatedly rewarded for its rogue behaviour on terrorism and proliferation of nuclear technology. China is the world’s big proliferator, but now talks with holy intent on the NPT. Hypocrisy is the language of power. Our own little experiment with ‘bad’ behaviour – Pokhran 2 – got the US to become our ally. So we should know the value of occasional roguery. The world learns to respect those who can give it a bad headache, and India cannot claim access to big power status without the ability to surprise the world with the occasional bad behaviour.

6) Lastly, we have to prepare for the long haul. It does not matter if we enter the NSG this year or in 2020. Today, NSG membership or a UNSC seat looks like a favour to us. We may think it our right, given our size and good behaviour, but this is balderdash. But seven to 10 years hence, when we are a $5 trillion economy, our might will make it our right, especially if our military is proportionately stronger. China waited 20 years after Mao to start asserting its claims on the global stage. We don’t seem to have the patience to wait even five or 10 years. Claiming a big power role is not for economies below $4-5 trillion in GDP. This is not meant to be some arbitrary figure, but is the level at which countries begin to matter globally. Japan and Germany are in this region; Russia nowhere near it. It is a military superpower without the economic heft to make it a superpower. China is already a $11 trillion economy, though its real economic strength may be overstated in dollar terms due to the managed nature of its exchange rate.

At $5 trillion, we will be at least half China’s current size, and in a better position to assert ourselves. At $2 trillion, we don’t matter to many players.

As we withdraw to lick our wounds over NSG, it is worth remembering one simple truth: nice guys finish last.

China bars India’s NSG entry: We must rely on our own wits, develop tech

Early on Friday morning, Indian time, the verdict from Seoul was announced: India was denied entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). For many, this had been a foregone conclusion, but the strenuous efforts of the Indian government raised hope that things would ultimately come out in India’s favour as they did in 2008. They were wrong.

At Seoul, Beijing played a spoilsport. Stubbornly insisting on creating an admissions process for countries not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it refused to consider the specifics of India’s case. For China, it was a purely geopolitical calculation — Indian admission to the nuclear high table would bring the South Asian country on a par with itself. Additionally, it would put India in a position of advantage over China’s client, Pakistan. Obfuscating these realities behind the rhetoric of non-proliferation, China, one of the worst proliferators in recent years, gained the support of other NSG participating governments for its “principled” stand.

Although India insists that its application was foiled by one obstinate country, other reports suggest that Austria, Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Turkey all supported a process-based entry. Turkey may have been keeping an eye on Israel while China is the largest trading partner for Brazil and New Zealand. According to diplomats, accession to the NPT was the recurring theme during the negotiations.

Technically, the NSG is a consensus-based body and it does not have rules, at least not legally binding ones. Furthermore, as Indian diplomats have repeatedly pointed out, France joined the NSG while not a member of the NPT. Nonetheless, if the sense of the group has now changed to requiring NPT membership, there is very little that India can do about it. However, given the support for India’s candidacy, that does not seem to be the sense. Were China to acquiesce to Indian membership, or even abstain from making a decision, it remains a question whether the others would still hold firm to their “principles.” Admittedly, there have been complaints about pressure to vote in favour of India but such behaviour is certainly the norm for any important decision in any forum.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

India will not — and should not — sign the NPT as is, and an amendment to the treaty that would recognise India as the sixth nuclear weapons state would be tougher to achieve than a NSG membership. Even the George W Bush administration, which was rather sanguine about India’s nuclear programme, did not attempt to modify the NPT during the 2008 Indo-US nuclear deal for that was too high a mountain. After nearly half a century of having its arbitrariness and hypocrisy enshrined, no state would want to be reminded of the fundamental flaw in the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Nuclear weapons states, at least one of them, would not want another competitor. And non-nuclear weapons states would feel the fool for accepting discriminatory laws all this time while a country that rejected the system for so long is admitted to its highest echelon.

How did India manage to get a waiver in 2008 and not in 2016? Several things have changed in these eight years. US president Barack Obama is not George W Bush, nor is Xi Jinping his predecessor. In 2008, the Bush administration is rumoured to have twisted arms to get India the NSG waiver; the Obama administration, though supportive of India, was probably not willing to go so far. Additionally, Sino-American relations were calmer: it was not unthinkable for Bush to personally call his counterpart, Hu Jintao, in Beijing on India’s behalf. Xi Jinping is different, intent on refashioning a Chinese empire during his time at the helm. The troubles in the South China Sea have also changed the tone of the relationship. Additionally, the 2008 waiver for India helped China in some ways: it gave them an excuse to openly sell more reactors to Pakistan against the NSG’s wishes and with no such waiver coming for Pakistan, it made Islamabad entirely dependent on Beijing for nuclear assistance. The 2016 waiver holds no such benefits for China.

The most important question now is, what next? There are several options on a broader diplomatic canvas but it is not clear whether Delhi has the courage to do so. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who campaigned like a hawk in the general elections two years ago, has turned into a meek businessman since he moved to Raisina. To be fair to him, however, India cannot bite off more than it can chew — economically as well as militarily and diplomatically, India is much inferior to China and repercussions must be carefully considered.

Yet within the narrow arena of nuclear affairs, India is restricted to developing its own technology for the complete nuclear supply chain. This is easier said than done: industry will not be interested in partnering with government if there is no demand for their wares. An overt commitment to large-scale domestic growth of nuclear power with Make-in-India components will create the incentive for the private sector to develop nuclear-grade components. Furthermore, India has plenty of expertise in designing, building, and operating small to medium reactors. These also cost less than the larger Western models and may be more suitable for developing countries just embracing nuclear energy. Given India’s lower cost of labour, it may even be able to become part of nuclear supply chains of Western vendors.

Were India to commit to emerging as a nuclear manufacturing hub within the next ten years, its clout at the negotiating table would be significant. At that point, the NSG would run the risk of fuelling a parallel nuclear market were it to continue to ignore India. The value of NSG membership, for Delhi, at least since 2011, has not been the acquisition of technology but the prevention of the adoption of discriminatory guidelines in the future. It is also unrealistic to expect countries to sell their latest technology to India even if an NSG membership had been in the stars. For now, the failure to become an NSG member does not create additional burdens to the development of Indian manufacturing; that should be the point of focus.

A nuclear renaissance would need a considerable boost in India’s budget for the Atomic Energy Commission. It would also require greater private participation in the sector, perhaps even in operations. This has been a taboo subject so far for no good reason. Public-Private partnerships will catalyse capacity growth and have a ripple effect on several sectors such as labour, the environment, and, of course, the economy.

India can also speed up its languishing Fast Breeder Reactor programme. These reactors irk the non-proliferation lobby because of their excellent capacity to breed plutonium. With several of these reactors operating, India can offer to put most of them under safeguards in exchange for a seat at the nuclear high table. The investment in FBRs will not be wasted for India’s primary purpose is to use them to fuel the third stage of its civilian three-stage nuclear energy strategy.

Yet for any of this to occur, nuclear issues need to receive generous political attention that they have lacked since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. Reforms bringing greater transparency and a focus on outcomes must be introduced to shake up what is until now a sluggish governmental behemoth. If India cannot join the NSG, it must be made largely irrelevant to India.

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