If the diplomacy in action during the recently concluded BRICS summit in India is a signal of New Delhi’s diplomatic intent then it is clear that India is keeping its focus on getting support from the visiting New Zealand Prime Minister on its bid for the NSG and the war on terror - the two most important issues for the current establishment in New Delhi.
Recently India has stepped up the ante at global and bilateral platforms for seeking membership in the NSG and for a concerted global strategy to fight terrorism.
Nuclear Supplier Group is a 48 member elite group that largely controls global nuclear commerce. India is currently not a member of this group.
Earlier this year few countries including New Zealand have expressed their reservations on India’s membership sighting the need for further consultations.
Signalling the mood in New Delhi, Indian High Commissioner to New Zealand, Sanjeev Kohli, commented that, “India has remained actively engaged with the NSG and the participating governments for a number of years now and has in fact gone beyond the compliance in terms of the obligations that we were required to undertake as part of that engagement. Our record of non-proliferation is impeccable. India’s joining of regimes like NSG will strengthen global non-proliferation efforts. We need to be part of the NSG to have a predictable mechanism to meet our clean energy requirements and our climate control commitments.”
Visiting Prime Minister John Key is aware of this pressing agenda of NSG and has shown his willingness to discuss the matter with the Indian side.
In an exclusive interview with the Indian Weekender, Prime Minister said that “we know it is an important issue for India and we are trying to work constructively with India, President Barrack Obama and other like-minded countries in the group to find a way to allow them to be a part of the Nuclear Supplier Group.”
Although, India enjoys exception from the exclusivity imposed by this group on the nuclear commerce, yet India has been seeking a membership to fulfil its pressing energy demands through access to low cost, clean nuclear energy.
Currently, India's energy needs are being met by conventional fuels like petrol, diesel, and coal which emit greenhouse gases, making India one of the major emitters of greenhouse gases.
NSG membership would allow India to buy nuclear energy from other countries which is a clean source of energy.
The fact that India has recently ratified the Paris climate change agreement, and committed that by 2030 at least 40% of country’s electricity will be generated from non-fossil sources, has significantly shifted the pressure back on the international community to acknowledge India's reputation as a responsible leading power in the international system.
The international community, including New Zealand, can no longer ignore India's credential as a responsible power seeking access to nuclear commerce to fuel its growing economy and lift its vast masses out of abject poverty without further contributing to greenhouse emission and climate change - a claim that is increasingly becoming difficult to be ignored by the international community.
Similarly seeking international support for the war on terrorism will be high on agenda of the Indian side. The recent surgical strikes on the terrorist camps based across its western borders have suggested that India’s patience is fast running out.
For long India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism and has been trying to shape the international opinion against terrorism and terror exporting countries in its neighbourhood.
There are indications that Indian political establishment might want more than mere lip-service from its political allies and the wider international community.
In this regard, a loud and unambiguous statement from the visiting Prime Minister will send a clear message to New Delhi that New Zealand empathises with the grave security challenges imposed upon the Indian polity just by virtue of geographically belonging to a “difficult” region in the world.