India’s failure to clinch a membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) failed as China blocked consensus at the elite group which controls transfer of nuclear technology in the world. China will not discuss India’s membership bid into the elite group until India first signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as it is requisite and a major criteria set up by the NSG. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the ‘cornerstone’ of the international non-proliferation regime, though NPT issue had been addressed in 2008 itself, when India got the country-specific waiver.

India has been seeking NSG membership since 2008 and is being backed by US, Switzerland and Mexico for its membership of NSG only due to the commendable efforts by Narendra Modi government. On the other hand, it is being opposed by China, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan on the basis that a country which is a non signatory of NPT, CTBT etc shouldn’t be inducted into NSG. China has been arguing that if India is to be granted a seat in NSG, then all other South Asian countries like Pakistan which were non-signatory of NPT should also be granted a seat. NSG consists of a group of nuclear supplier countries that seek to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Pakistan is rebutting India’s claim merely because it doesn’t want India to possess high end technologies in the nuclear field. It also fears that if India becomes a member it could prevent it from becoming a member just like how China is currently down voting India.

Now, while India is trying its best to garner other countries’ support to back its Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) bid, a book has come into open claiming that Jawaharlal Nehru had the opportunity to get the membership but he rejected it. The author, former foreign secretary Maharajakrishna Rasgotra writes that US president John F Kennedy had offered India a chance to develop and detonate a nuclear device much before China’s test in 1964. But, Nehru rejected the offer. The writer further says if Nehru had accepted the offer at that time, India would not have to yearn to enter into the Nuclear Suppliers Group today. Rasgotra argues that we would not only have tested the nuclear device first in Asia before China, but it would have deterred China from launching its war of 1962 and even warned Pakistan for its war in 1965. According to the book, Nehru discussed the matter with Dr Homi Bhabha and GP Parthasarathy, and rejected the offer.


If all these claims are any indication, it is great irony that India’s all these aspirations to become a NSG member were eminently realisable in the past. The big question is that: was it offered to India on a platter but the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru refused them on what appears in retrospect, dubious grounds? The Nehru critics argue that the Nehruvian thoughts that overwhelmingly dominated our intelligentsia and political class never questioned Nehru’s foreign policy decisions; but things have changed now. The majority of Indians do not know that but for Nehru, India would have been a permanent member of the UNSC, a legitimate nuclear power and a leading global power in the 1950s itself.

However, on the flip side, despite Nehru being a vocal proponent of non-alignment, India always kept the nuclear option and he was keen that India pursue nuclear research and keep its options open for future deployment in war. There is also evidence to suggest that Homi Bhabha was once just a year from testing a nuclear device during Nehru’s times. But, it is also true that Nehru deterred Bhabha to hold the programme in abeyance.

Just assuming, without taking credible evidence into account, that nukes were offered on a platter to Nehru, the Nehru critics, of course, make the mistake of arguing that getting a membership of NSG would have been the shortest route to super powerdom and global 12


  • Abeyance


Contextual Meaning(s): noun; temporary inactivity or non operation, e.g. a law that has been in abeyance for some time

Synonyms : suspension, stand-down

  • Consensus


Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; general or widespread agreement among all the members of a group, e.g. after hours of deliberation, they finally reached a consensus.

Synonyms : agreement, consent

  • Dubious


Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; not sure about an outcome or conclusion,

Synonyms : doubtful, questionable

  • Detonate


Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to make something explode

Synonyms : set off, discharge

  • Deterred


Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to prevent or discourage from acting, as by means of fear or doubt, e.g. threats that did not deter her from speaking out.

Synonyms : dissuade

  • Garner


Contextual meaning(s) : verb; to earn or acquire something by effort

Synonyms : acquire, gain

  • Hegemony


Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; control or dominating influence by one person or group, especially by one political group over society or one nation over others

Synonyms : supremacy, domination

  • Intelligentsia


Contextual Meaning(s) : noun, the most intelligent, intellectual, or highly educated members of a society or community, especially those who are interested in the arts, literature, philosophy, and politics.

Synonyms : literati, intellectual

  • Requisite


Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; absolutely essential

Synonyms : mandatory

  • Rebutting


Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; to refute by evidence or argument, e.g. He spent most of his speech rebutting criticisms.

Synonyms : confute, disprove

  • Retrospect


Contextual meaning(s) : noun; thinking about or reviewing the past, especially from a new perspective or with new information

Synonyms : thoughtfulness

  • Waiver


Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; the voluntary relinquishment, expressly or by implication, of some claim or right

Synonyms : relinquishment

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