When trade goes nuclear

When trade goes nuclear

India’s top diplomat, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, will head to China on Wednesday for the first-ever strategic dialogue. New Delhi views the

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

India’s top diplomat, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, will head to China on Wednesday for the first-ever strategic dialogue.

New Delhi views the forum as a chance to reiterate a crucial demand: for Beijing to lift its opposition to India joining the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG), the body that controls trade in nuclear-related equipment. Joining the 48 member-club would give India access to sophisticated nuclear technologies for civilian use, making it cheaper (and safer) for the country to build and run nuclear power plants.

The only issue: India hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, a key international agreement that aims to halt the spread of nuclear weapons.

China says solid criteria must be established for countries that haven’t signed the treaty before they can join the NSG. This approach would potentially put Pakistan – another country that hasn’t signed the NPT and India’s arch rival – on an equal footing.

While this issue won’t be resolved on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi will continue to lobby President Xi when they meet at the BRICS and G20 summits later this year.

Dig deeper: Eating grass: India-Pakistan rivalry renewed