India has strongly criticised China for violating NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) rules by supplying nuclear reactors to Pakistan. New Delhi said on Monday that Beijing’s move was against the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) consensus. According to India, it is unfortunate that China, despite touting the NPT as cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, violated the consensus arrived at the 2010 NPT review conference on supply of nuclear technology.

India criticised the Chinese policy after Arms Control Association, one of leading authorities on nuclear weapons and disarmament, mentioned in its latest report on progress on non-proliferation that China’s 2013 deal for the Chasma-3 reactor in Pakistan contradicted the consensus document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. According to the report, China is playing a risky game as Pakistan is not under IAEA safeguards.

The report clearly states: “Despite progress on its export controls, China continues to supply Pakistan with nuclear power reactors, despite objections that the sale of the reactors did not receive a consensus exemption from the NSG. Pakistan, which is neither an NPT member nor under full-scope IAEA safeguards, is therefore ineligible to receive such assistance under NSG rules.”

A couple of months ago, China blocked India’s NSG membership bid, arguing that participation of a non-NPT signatory in the elite group would weaken the international non-proliferation regime. Now, India has objected to China’s double standards on non-proliferation issue, stressing that Beijing will have to stop creating procedural hurdles in New Delhi’s NSG membership bid. The South Asian nation also said that China decided to override NSG guidelines in order to help Pakistan with its nuclear energy programme. 

The Asian giant, which has an estimated 260 nuclear weapons, had conducted 45 nuclear tests between 1964 and 1996. Currently, it possesses nearly 20 tonnes of fissile material in its military stockpile. China is believed to have halted fissile production for weapons.

On the other hand, India has an estimated 90-110 nuclear weapons. It had conducted three nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. Now, the South Asian powerhouse possesses four tonnes of plutonium for nuclear weapons. India continues to produce plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) for weapons.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has an estimated 110-130 nuclear weapons. Islamabad, which conducted two nuclear tests in 1998, possesses 190kg of plutonium and 3.1 tonnes of HEU for weapons.

In July, a US Army War College report outlined India’s changing nuclear strategy in the face of geopolitical rivalries between the three Asian nuclear powers. The report, which focussed mainly on the evolution of India’s nuclear force structure and strategic doctrine in the face of recent nuclear developments in neighbouring Pakistan and China, said that recent trends and planned weapon systems in India’s nuclear force structure are leaning in the direction of a war fighting capability and a rethinking of its strategic doctrine.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]