Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) | IAS Target IAS Target

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multilateral export control regime and a group of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to shield nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment, and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. The NSG first met in November 1975 in London, and is thus popularly referred to as the “London Club”. The name of the "London Club" was due to the series of meetings in London. It has also been referred to as the London Group, or the London Suppliers Group. Decisions, including on membership, are made by consensus.

Formation 1974
Member countries 48
Official languages English, French, German, Spanish
Affiliations International Atomic Energy Agency


  • Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
  • Controlling transfer of nuclear energy

Eligibility for NSG membership

  • Domestic export control system which in consonance with the NSG Guidelines;
  • Adherence the obligations of one or more of nuclear non-proliferation agreement
  • The ability to supply items (including items in transit) covered by the NSG Guidelines
  • Adherence to the Guidelines and action in accordance with them
  • Support of international efforts towards non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of their delivery vehicle

NSG in history

The NSG was founded in response to the Indian nuclear test in May 1974 and first met in November 1975. The test confirmed that certain non-weapons specific nuclear technology could be readily turned to weapons development. Nations already signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) saw the need to further limit the export of nuclear equipment, materials, or technology. So NSG comes into effect.

NSG's special waiver to India

In July 2006, the United States Congress amended U.S. law to accommodate civilian nuclear trade with India. A meeting of NSG participating governments in 2008 on an India-specific exemption to the Guidelines was inconclusive. In another meeting on 6 September 2008, the NSG participating governments agreed to grant India a "clean waiver" from its existing rules, which bar nuclear trade with a country that has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The approval was based on a formal pledge by India stating that it would not share sensitive nuclear technology or material with others and would uphold its voluntary moratorium on testing nuclear weapons. The pledge was contained in a crucial statement issued during the NSG meeting by India outlining the country's disarmament and nonproliferation policies.
The waiver paved the way for India to engage in nuclear trade and led to the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal. India has since signed civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, and South Korea. The drive for India's membership got a decisive boost when the U.S declared support for India joining the quartet of multilateral export control regimes.

The four multilateral export control regimes are:

  • Australia Group (AG) and
  • Wassenaar Arrangement (WA),
  • Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR),
  • Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
India is not a member of NSG. U.S proposed case for a country-specific rather than a criteria-based approach rested on the argument that India's nuclear record and commitment to non-proliferation norms qualified it as a "like minded country" to join the NSG.

Hindrance that prevent India joining NSG

  • India has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,
  • China’s Opposition,
  • The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one country’s vote against India will scuttle its bid.

India must join NSG because

  • France got membership in the elite group without signing the NPT.
  • Commitment to nonproliferation: India’s commitment to bifurcate its civilian and military nuclear programs along with its nonproliferation record ensured indigenously developed technology is not shared with other countries.
  • India has abided by both NPT and Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) even though it is a non-signatory. This along with its commitments on nuclear non-proliferation under NSG waiver in 2008 provides India with a strong basis for membership in NSG.
  • Transparency: India has also ratified an Additional Protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which means that its civilian reactors are under IAEA protection and open for inspections.

Importance of NSG for India

  • It confirmed India credentials as a global responsible player
  • Membership will increase India’s access to state-of-the-art technology from the other members of the Group.
  • Access to technology and being permitted to produce nuclear equipment will give a boost to the domestic manufacturing and Make in India program. It will help to boost the economic growth of our country.
  • As per India’s commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, India committed to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring that 40% of its energy is sourced from renewable and clean sources. In order to achieve this target, we need to scale up nuclear power production. This can only happen if India gets access to the NSG.
  • Namibia is the fourth-largest producer of uranium and it agreed to sell the nuclear fuel to India in 2009. However, that hasn’t happened, as Namibia has signed the Pelindaba Treaty
  • India will get an opportunity to voice it’s concern if in case of a change in the provision of the NSG guidelines.

The recently framed draft proposal for accepting new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group increases India’s chances of entry into NSG. It’s a welcome development for India as NSG membership would definitely advance the economic and strategic development in the future. Therefore, India should catch this opportunity to aggressively pursue the development of nuclear energy while providing the essential emphasis on safety and addressing concerns of the public. It will also pave the way for clean energy initiatives and continued focus to achieve our commitments to alleviate the carbon footprint pledged during the climate summit.