As India’s hopes to become an NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) member crashed against the Great Wall of China in Seoul last week, New Delhi has said in retaliation that it may not ratify the Paris Climate Agreement.
The South Asian country tried it best to become the 49th member of elite Group, but its high profile campaign failed on June 24, as China remained adamantly opposed to even considering India’s membership bid. After a last minute diplomatic outreach by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping failed to break the ice, New Delhi issued a statement, saying: “An early positive decision by the NSG would have allowed us to move forward on the Paris Agreement.” The Indian government also said that it had no immediate plan to ratify the Paris accord.
India’s announcement is a huge blow to the Barrack Obama administration that wanted the Modi government to ratify the pact and allow it to come into force. However, Washington reacted cautiously, with a senior White House official saying it was understood that an NSG membership would help India clear the Paris Accord.
At the end of NSG plenary in Seoul on Friday, diplomats said that although 38 countries backed India’s accession, nine member countries, including China, questioned the membership procedure. Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland and Austria, too, asked the NSG to determine the entry of non-NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) countries before holding discussions on India’s membership bid.
As China’s open hostility to India’s global aspirations is out in the open, Indian foreign policy experts opine that it’s time for the Modi government to assess the true nature of Beijing’s opposition. They have advised Prime Minister Modi to concentrate on the elementary understanding of power play and geopolitics before formulating foreign policies.
Experts wonder how the Indian Ministry of External Affairs failed to anticipate that China could use India’s non-ratification of the NPT and Pakistan’s (equal) claims to block the country’s entry. Beijing is well aware of the fact that China’s global economic and political heft will diminish, if India enters the scene, said a senior Indian diplomat who wished to remain anonymous.
Experts further advised the Modi government not to rush into battle with China without a proper strategy. They urged New Delhi to understand “our opposition and enemies better”.
If New Delhi fails to counter Beijing’s unremitting hostility and opposition to India’s great power ambitions, it can’t bargain with anybody – NSG or UNSC. India should be prepared for the long haul. It does not matter whether the country enters the NSG in 2016 or in 2020. India will have to fight for its right and make a steady economic progress. China and its “friends” can no longer ignore “an economically strong” India.