India to keep close eye on NPT review meet
Since it hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the NPT, India will not be a participant at the NPT Review Conference that will commence at the United Nations on Monday, but will keep a watchful eye on the deliberations there.
A senior Indian diplomat said that India will monitor developments at the Conference to see that there is nothing “adverse” in terms of decisions taken at the Conference in the context of India’s interests.
This is particularly relevant since there was an indication there may be a degree of renewed pressure on countries like India and Pakistan, that have not signed the Treaty, to do so.
During a media interaction on Friday, Susan Burk, the US President’s Special Representative on Nuclear Nonproliferation, said, “The US has had a longstanding policy of supporting the universal adherence to the NPT, and I am quite confident that that issue will be raised during the review conference and there will be a desire to recommit the parties’ support for that.”
However, it remains clear that the United States does not see an early prospect of India joining the regime. The US also reiterated that the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear deal had not undermined the NPT.
On Friday, US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher, said, “We don’t believe we weakened the NPT in our peaceful civilian nuclear deal with India, that it’s a deal that comes with safeguards and it comes with a number of other transparency mechanisms that we think, frankly, add to the security and the nonproliferation concerns that we had prior to that.”
Among the issues that India will be tracking closely is that of any effort to seek universalisation of the Treaty as well as the focus on Iran, as its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to make a high-profile appearance at the Conference even as the US seeks fresh UN sanctions against Iran.
In fact, diplomats said, Iran may attempt to deflect flak by stressing on the necessity of making the NPT universal.
India’s position on Iran has been that it does not want new sanctions imposed while India also does not want to see the emergence of a nuclear-armed state in its neighbourhood.