India will never sign NPT, says Sushma Swaraj

‘The world knows our commitment to NPT’

July 21, 2016 02:31 am | Updated 02:31 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Announcing a significant continuation of national policy on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the government on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that it will never sign into the treaty which was regarded by previous governments as “discriminatory.”

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj clearly stated the government’s position on the NPT in the Lok Sabha in response to a question from A. Anwhar Raajhaa (AIADMK) who had asked if India had a clear policy about how to join the NSG without becoming a member of the NPT.

“We have clear cut policy in this regard. We got waiver [at the NSG in 2008] without becoming member of the NPT. I want to announce from this platform, that we will never sign into the NPT but we will maintain our commitment [ pratibadhata ] to the NPT,” Ms Swaraj said speaking in Hindi.

“I will give the credit for the waiver to the previous government and when they got the waiver in 2008, we gave some commitments like separation of civilian and strategic [nuclear] programmes and acceptance of the IAEA safeguards. The world knows our commitment to the NPT and it was because of this that we got the waiver and it was on this basis that we will get NSG membership,” Ms. Swaraj said addressing Parliament for the first time since India’s failed bid for membership at the NSG.

Significantly, she came out in support of keeping China engaged despite the hurdles that the country put up during India’s NSG bid on June 23-24. “It is true that China put up procedural hurdles for India’s application to become member of the NSG and the main procedural hurdle was that a process of how non-NPT signatory States can become member of the NSG should be determined. It is true that because of this a favourable decision could not be taken [regarding India’s membership of NSG]. But as far as engagement with China is concerned, we are trying for it,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj faced criticism about hyping India’s NSG bid and failing in the process but elaborated that the latest attempt to become the NSG member should not be regarded as a failure as it has “paved a path for future.”

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