Protected: Week 2 Discussion • Global Trade & WMD

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  • Most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment: members are expected to incorporate the guidelines into their national export control laws. When should they do it ? How can they enforce these guidelines ? Which specific measures should they implement ?

    ACT article mentioned an issue that might impact industry the most: the role of the private sector in preventing proliferation and how NSG members could interact with companies that export nuclear goods.
    I believe the NSG is heading the right way. In order to improve the effectiveness of the regime, member states need a strong consensus from all sectors and industries in the country. First step should probably communicate the dangers of nuclear destruction program. Following steps: provide specific instructions to minimize and eliminate these dangers.

    Bachlien Scanlan11 June 2014
  • The most challenging issues facing NSG is getting the non-member nuclear countries on board. Without all the key suppliers agreeing to even just the basics of what to regulate and what activities to restrict, it will be very difficult to control proliferation. Non-state actors will be able to take advantage of many weaknesses in the overall control fabric.

    But it seems that other political considerations are standing in the way, and these will be difficult to overcome. I agree that if India would sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it would show good faith on their part, and give supporters of their membership ammunition to push back on the opposition. I’m glad to see Russia is a supporter. They have a long history of being an obstacle to progress for purely political reasons.

    Probably the most difficult issue facing Industry is inconsistency in the regulatory control environment. Today, Companies with a sophisticated level of technology, which probably means most suppliers of the key items on the nuclear controls lists, have a global presence with locations, people and technology in many parts of the world. Without stronger agreement within the NSG on the scope and enforcement of controls, and inclusion of the other nuclear supplier countries, Industry will have a very difficult time creating compliance programs that their own people will be able to understand and follow.

    George12 June 2014
  • I can see several challenges for the NSG group at the moment:

    1. Technology developments grow faster than political agreements . According to the article, it took three years to complete the revision of control list on nuclear and dual-use goods. In three years, new products and materials could be created, developed, and transferred anywhere in the world. There is a need to build political will.

    2. Without a legally binding agreement there is no certainty for effective control and implementation. Without enforcement mechanisms, states will incorporate guidelines into their legislation at different paces and levels (depending on politics, capacity, resources)

    3. It is essential to bring all supplier states on board. Without India, Pakistan, and Israel being part of the group any potential costumer coudl turn to them and not face the strict controls the NSG is proposing to its states members. As it is happening with the recently adopted Arms Trade Treaty, it is essential to have major exporters on board to have an actual and universal impact.

    Manuel Martínez12 June 2014
  • I agree with George; the most challenging issues facing the NSG is getting non-member nuclear states on board. Since this is not a universal treaty and member states have to rely on each other doing their own form of implementation, they must lead by example, and simply leaving countries with nuclear weapons programs out of the loop for political reasons does more harm than good. I’ve always been bothered by the fact that a country like India was never a member of the NPT, and I’m also not surprised that China is an opponent of their entry into the NSG, since it was China’s cross-border invasion in 1962 that was the catalyst for India even establishing a nuclear weapons program. How can the NSG be taken seriously as an international regime when 3 declared nuclear weapons states (India, Pakistan, and Israel’s “no comment”) aren’t a part of it?

    In order to further combat proliferation and prevent dual-use materials from going to the wrong hands, or the wrong programs, all countries with nuclear weapons should be a party to this. Otherwise, they don’t have an argument when they claim to be against proliferation. And it is imperative that countries like Russia and the United States make it clear that it is in their own best interest that they are members if they truly want to prevent these weapons and their components from falling into the wrong hands.

    Scott Sharon14 June 2014
  • the most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment is to become legally binding and to improve its controlled list according to the development of technology
    India represents a huge State in which doing business, it is very important that it should be part of NSG. There are no restrictions in nuclear programs for civilian purposes. But if there are some doubts on the purpose of those Indian programs, it should be preferable to understand well their nature. Diplomacy has to work to convince India to enter NSG. No exemptions should have to be.
    NSG has to work to convince India about the opportunity on NSG activities and nota such as a control on its nuclear activities. Maybe we should ask if the inspections are the right way to convince someone to adhere.

    Laura14 June 2014
  • The ACT articles mainly focuses on two issues i) the fact that on the last NSG meeting the member states have “adopted” its new list of controlled exports and ii) the question of whether India should be admitted as a member state to the NSG.

    Considering the fact that the said list of controlled exports is merely updated, and it has not been just adopted for the first time, I can barely see any difficulties that either the NSG or its member states could experience in including the new items on the controlled exports list in their national legislation.

    The second issue the ACT articles focused on was India’s membership in the NSG, that does resemble a challenge much more than the issue discussed above, and it is so due to several reasons. Firstly, India is a country with strong economy, whose energy has strong nuclear presence, India is a country with nuclear weapons and more importantly it has missile capabilities. On the one had it does not fulfill the criteria for membership in the NSG, but on the other due to its strong development in “all things nuclear” it is vital to be included in an international regime controlling the export of nuclear technology. Considering that India is not subject to IAEA’s Safeguards mechanism the NSG seems to be the next logical option.

    Secondly another problem that I think is, as of recently, linked with India’s membership in the NSG is the Ukraine – Russia situation. As most of the course participants probably know there was a Treaty between Russia and Ukraine where Russia is guaranteeing Ukraine’s sovereignty and Ukraine agreed to scrap its Nuclear Weapons inherited from the USSR. Recent events proved that Russia did not respect that treaty which in effect was a huge blow to the non-proliferation community and yet another example to be used by countries with nuclear weapons arguing that security could be achieved only via nuclear weapons. The reason I mentioned this is the fact that from political point of view the Ukraine – Russia situation greatly diminished the effectiveness of the international community and international law pertaining to non-proliferation, thus I highly doubt that whatever political will has been present in including India is the NSG is still there, or at least that strong.

    I am looking forward to posts with different opinions.

    L.L. Sakaliyski15 June 2014
  • Clarification: What I meant in my previous post’s last paragraph is that if India becomes member of the NSG despite the fact that it is not eligible to do so taken into conjunction with the disregarded Russia- Ukraine treaty it would show that treaties and rules are disregarded on regular basis and that would weaken the non-proliferation regime from legal point of view.

    L.L. Sakaliyski15 June 2014
  • While the question of membership is certainly not the most crucial issue for the NSG, it should nontheless not be underestimated. The success of the global nonproliferation regime (to which I would say the export controls belong) is also a function of the perceived legitimacy of the regime. Creating double standards rarely serves any good purpose to legitimacy.
    One could argue that the case of India is different from other cases of other non-NSG-member states (maybe with the exception of Israel) that have the ability to supply items covered by the Annexes 1 and 2 of the NSG guidelines. India’s nonproliferation credentials arguably are intact. While not meeting the criterion of being a member of the the NPT or an “equivalent international nuclear non-proliferation agreement”, it supports the spirit of nonproliferation (the country criticizes the nuclear nonproliferation regime landscape as being fundamentally discriminatory and inherently unfair but supports the ultimate goal of nonproliferation and disarmament). As such (and obviously also keeping India’s nuclear industrial capacity and state of technological advance in mind) it would make sense to inlcude India in the NSG.
    At the same time, accepting India into the NSG would eastablish yet another double-standard in the nuclear nonproliferation regime landscape and is thus dangerous (also, but not limited to, the NPT, as the Western European diplomat in the article mentioned).
    Since the dicussion within the NSG seem to have progressed beyond questions of principle, as the US diplomat said, the NSG should now focus on measures that would counter the potential loss of credibility. One such measure was mentioned in the article: getting India to ratifying the CTBT (the CTBT is not only a disarmament tool but also a nuclear nonproliferation measure and as such qualifies as an “equivalent non-proliferation agreement” as mentioned in the NSG membership guidelines). Apparently, getting India to sign and ratify the CTBT requires the US to start a “ratification cascade”.

    Marco Fey15 June 2014
  • I think the key issue that the article (and many of the other posters here) mentions is non-member supplier states. Pakistan and India (I’m not as concerned about Israel) remain outside the NSG framework. Without incentives to join, they could reap the benefits of being an unsafeguarded supplier. Incentivizing them to join could just lead to other countries wanting similar incentives.

    Incentives are an issue for industry as well. The article mentions that companies’ internal compliance programs are key to maintaining compliance. However, the question is how cost effective are these programs? If damage to reputation and sanctions are not high enough, then companies could view such programs as ineffective. Furthermore, if states have unclear control lists, then such programs could also be a waste of time and money. While the issue is described as an “outreach” issue, the problems may run deeper.

    Despite these problems, the NSG does appear to be heading the right way. The successes of proliferators like North Korea emphasize the need to ensure that even non-NSG suppliers need to be brought into the fold, so to speak. China notwithstanding, it seems that NSG member states are starting to acknowledge existing problems and attempt to stop them.

    Matt15 June 2014
  • There are several issues of note that face the NSG. First, there was the surprising fact that the revision of lists for nuclear technologies and dual use commodities took 3 years to edit and compile. This could be a result of lagging political will, or the slow pace of diplomatic exchange or discourse, in comparison to the high rate of technological / technical developments in nuclear technologies. It would behoove the NSG to be quicker in their dealings and revisions – although at the same time the full political ramifications and effects of new technologies and commodities can often take time to develop or to fully comprehend. There is also the matter of controversy in which the NSG is vying to induct India into the NSG even though it is part of the NPT regime. This is representative of a larger issue of the imperative to to rein in outreach efforts to non-NSG supplier states such as Pakistan and Israel. Without any ties to the NPT or the NSG, they are effectively unregulated and unguarded nodes for nuclear / dual use technologies of which state and non-state actors could take advantage of . Naturally, overcoming national interests and political will is a complicated measure – to which to me seems to be part of willingness of NSG states to allow India to enter NSG status despite being non-NPT. Naturally, NPT status would be the ideal next step, but for now – NSG status is a positive development. The NSG members need to find ways to connect to states like Pakistan and Israel to accept outreach efforts, to find value and benefit in joining regimes, or else would continue to pose as potential illegal sources of export violations. Strong efforts of the NSG to induct all nuclear capable countries to joining the coalition should be made because it would seemingly defeat the purpose of it if non-member suppliers remain excluded or are not given any incentives to join.

    Chris Samson15 June 2014
  • The ACT article discusses three issues, namely update of the controlled items, India’s possible membership in the NSG, and the role of the private sector in preventing proliferation. The emphasis in on India, however.

    As the NSG has already agreed on the updated control lists and implementation is a matter of national policy, there will be country-specific challenges such as those mentioned by others here. Therefore, it appears to me that the most challenging issue for the NSG is the possible membership of India in the NSG and how this could affect the nonproliferation regime as a whole.

    Looking back, the exception given to India for nuclear trade caused a lot of debate in the nonproliferation community and within the NSG with very good arguments on both sides. Some argued that a country that did not join the NPT could not be rewarded with an exception for nuclear trade. On the other hand, as a country with growing population and increasing energy demand as well as a key regional/global player, India had to be brought closer to the nonproliferation regime. India qualifies now for nuclear trade and nuclear safeguards will be applied to part of India’s nuclear energy program. I guess the question is no more whether India should be part of the NSG or not, but what will the NSG ask in return for this. It is difficult to determine whether the NSG is heading in the right or wrong direction concerning the possible membership of India. If India, for example, were to commit to the CTBTO as part of a NSG membership deal, this would be important for the CTBTO regime. If the NSG, however, does not demand much in exchange for India’s NSG membership, then the nonproliferation regime would not benefit. Nevertheless, as India is a country that possesses, among others, nuclear and dual-use technology its participation in the NSG would help keep these technologies under control (assuming, of course, India will comply with the NSG Guidelines). I would argue that if the NPT could more or less survive the NSG exception granted to India for nuclear trade, the NPT would also survive India’s membership in the NSG. I would think no NPT party would withdraw from the NPT because of India’s NSG membership.

    Concerning the industry, government outreach is important. I would think that some governments are more active than others in reaching out to the private sector to explain the dangers of trade and proliferation. Some governments may not have the financial or human resources capabilities to reach out to the private sector as often as possible. Major government outreach programs would impact the industry in a positive way, as there will be more understanding and communication between the private and government sector concerning proliferation. This is, of course, no silver bullet, but the more both parties engage with each other, the better.

    Finally, I fully agree with those comments made about technological development: “Technology developments grow faster than political agreements.” This has always been the case and information exchange between governments and the private sector concerning dual-use technology development is vital to cope with this challenge.

    Christhian R.

    Christhian R.16 June 2014
  • The most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment is that it is not a formal organization and its guidelines are not binding. Guidelines can be issued, and member nations are “expected” to implement incorporate them into their own export controls and law.

    The issue mentioned in the ACT article that might most impact industry is India’s membership. If allowed to join the NSG while not meeting the key criterion for membership (be a party to and complying with the NPT or a nuclear weapon free zone treaty) it certainly raises questions as to the basic requirement existing. I fully agree with them joining the CTBT as a symbolic step in the right direction, however full NPT compliance must be an end goal.

    The NSG does look to be heading the right way. Any preventative measures for the proliferation of nuclear weapons are better than none. Having some enforcement capability themselves with trade sanctions for non-compliance would help even more. The member states should be continuing outreach to the private sector and encouraging participation and enforcement to improve the effectiveness of the regime.

    Robert F.16 June 2014
  • The biggest challenge for the NSG at this time is finding a way to admit states who are not party to the NPT but who are still nuclear-capable and potential suppliers, such as India. Because the NSG is a consensus-based group, decisions take a long time to accomplish, so a mechanism for admitting India will most likely take years to develop and to convince all NSG members to accept. In the mean time, however, states such as India, Israel, and Pakistan are potential suppliers and the lack of controls over their exports is disconcerting.

    Industry is most likely to be impacted by the flexible approach the NSG takes to controlled materials. Because their control lists aren’t static, industries and private corporations must constantly educate themselves on potential troublesome materials.

    Given the NSG’s structure, it seems to be moving forward as best as it can. Consensus-based organizations are always going to be slow to make and implement changes, and will generally have very watered-down policies. However, the NSG states recognize this issue. The NSG should pay more attention to the outcomes it wants – control of supplies, non-proliferation – and less on how their group was originally designed, thus allowing a way forward for India, Israel and Pakistan to fall under their influence.

    Emma F16 June 2014
  • The issue that would most impact industry is the actual changes to the control lists…present and future. Industry needs to stay up to date on changes to control lists since as mentioned they are fluid. Items get added to the list as new technology is developed and items come off as they become obsolete/antiquated.

    shelley v16 June 2014
  • The issue that will most impact industry is the ability to trade (or not) with global partners. The inclusion of India, while contraversial due to inconsistancy, opens a very large market for trade of nuclear materials. Given the already large and growing population in India, this will become a very large market for energy. The NSG must balance the political pressure that makes it work while at the same time avoiding trade restrictions on its member states where it can.

    Sarah B16 June 2014
  • The most challenging issue to the NSG at the moment is the decision that it must make unanimously on whether to allow India in as a member. Because India has a significant civil nuclear industry, many NSG member states are in favor of this decision. They reason that despite its non-member status, India has been abiding by the NSG guidelines and to allow it in as a member states would only reinforce its compliance with the groups rules. However, China is in disagreement with this idea because India has not signed on to the NPT. In the area of nonproliferation, it seems to me that it is beneficial to encourage significant nuclear, chemical or biological supplier countries to join supplier regimes, even if they have not signed to certain treaties, because it could serve as a catalyst to eventually sign on to said treaties.

    Karen16 June 2014
  • One of the most pressing challenges as outlined in the article is the absence of big players in the NSG. Ensuring that non-member nuclear states are part of these regimes is a priority and should be at the centre of the Group´s agenda. Attempting to curb proliferation and establishing effective controls and mechanisms is difficult if key countries remain distant. At least one other challenge stemming from the article is the Group’s ability to adapt and respond to technological advances, which invariably make the task of updating control lists much harder. Compiling the list takes time (in this case three years) and by the end of that period significant changes are likely to occur and would affect the accuracy of its content.

    Industry is impacted in several ways in the process undertaken by the Group. One issue is the incentive it has to help prevent proliferation and the costs of implementing the type of compliance systems that the Group would expect companies to adopt. Fostering engagement with the industry and demonstrating both the negative reputational effect that its indifference could have, as well as the positive effect its active involvement as a non-proliferation partner would have, could be an adequate approach to guarantee cooperation from companies and the private sector.

    The NSG is heading in the right direction by acknowledging the political problems associated with attempting to include some of the major players in the Group. The CTBT formula for the case of India is a creative one and could bring positive results. All efforts to head in that direction would seem to be correct and welcome ones.

    Nicolas L.16 June 2014
  • 1. ) I think the biggest challenge for the NSG is to find a good balance between security /safety and the economical interest of the controlled supplier country.
    Globale trade controlls complicate the export or import of goods and in order to enforce the guidline properly not just the government but also the companies need to be part of these controlls and get a kind of compensation for the difficulties. What also needs to be improved are the terms of the NSG guidlines. For a more effective enforcement of the guidlines they need to be more specific/concret and implement consequences in case of not complying the guidlines.
    A further challenge is that even within the memebers of the NSG there is not always consensus and some of them dont act the same way which leads to the impression of a double standart which in turn the NSG suffers the loss of credibility.

    Lisa16 June 2014
  • This article highlights that the inclusion of India in the NSG would go against a key criterion of the NSG – that a “country is a party to and complying with the NPT or a nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaty”. Though admitting India to the NSG would be an important step in including India’s strong civilian industry and nuclear energy/weapons programs in a non-proliferation regime, the credibility of the NSG could come into question. It would be important to consider the importance of participation in legally-binding international treaties, such as the NPT and the CTBT, against the significance of being a member of the NSG, a body that cannot legally enforce its stipulations. It is possible that India’s inclusion in the NSG would be a starting point to its eventual ratification of the NPT/other treaties, but if it is willing to join this non-proliferation regime, why not push the issue of India joining the NPT or a NWFZ treaty in order to meet the criteria of the NSG? I’m not sure what the right answer/approach is, but it is easy to see the disagreement within the NSG over India’s inclusion, and the potential ramifications of either decision.

    Erin C.16 June 2014
  • The NSG has to contend with today’s world and acknowledge the fact that these states outside of the NPT with exist regardless of the international community’s wishes. Therefore, the NSG needs to allow India to be apart of the community to bring India closer to what the international community can control. By allowing conditional membership with signing the Test Ban treaty and transparency of their nuclear program you balance the needs of the international community at large and India’s desire of recognition.

    Derek W16 June 2014
  • Does the NSG look to be heading the right way or wrong way? What should the member states be doing to improve the effectiveness of the regime?

    It is interesting that members such as the UK and US want to admit India to the NSG yet not require them to meet all the criteria all other members abide by. I can see that this is maybe more of a political move that would allow members to keep a better watch on India and ultimately gain some control over India’s actions if they were to become a member. However, this could cause dissention among the ranks for those members that had to take specific actions to qualify to be a member of this group. It is hard to say whether the NSG is moving in a positive direction with the recommendation of adding India. It could be the next trigger event or it could be the smartest things in the fight to control nuclear threats.

    Erin16 June 2014
  • There are a number of challenging issues facing the NSG at the moment, perhaps the biggest one being keeping up with technological developments. Industry will always be one-step ahead.

    One issue mentioned in the ACT article that will impact industry is the role that industry must play preventing proliferation. The NSG recognizes this, hence the goal of more private sector outreach. This could also be an indication of NSG member countries’ intent to crack down harder on diversion – and punish more severely those who performed inadequate due diligence prior to supplying a customer.

    I feel as though the NSG is heading in the right direction, though I understand the concerns people/governments have with offering an exemption to India – and the wrong message it could send to others that haven’t signed the NPT. That said, if the end result is greater coordination among more countries this would ultimately improve the effectiveness of the regime. And depending on how this goes it could serve as a model for more effectively engaging other countries that have not signed onto the NPT (e.g., Israel, Pakistan, etc.). While it has its risks, more cooperation / coordination with these countries by pulling them closer would be better than less.

    James17 June 2014
  • Today the NSG faces new challenges; they are like strong national export controls regulations implementation within NSG members, A changing global nuclear trade environment as few countries now investing in nuclear energy infrastructure, and in possession of a sufficient industrial base, will themselves become suppliers and exporters of nuclear material as well as trigger list and dual-use equipment. Image problem, Discipline and Credibility issues within NSG members

    ACT Articles mainly focuses on two issues NSG Revise List and whether to admit India as a member. As NSG lists “are not statistic” and must keep up with “the main security challenges, advances in technology, market trends. The role of private sector is very important in preventing proliferation if they have strong internal compliance programs in place.

    • Yes , heading in the right direction however The NSG has taken steps over the years to bolster its effectiveness. Urgent action is needed to shore up the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to detect nuclear weapons programs and safeguard peaceful nuclear programs. He need for safeguards improvements will become more urgent if there is a major expansion in Nuclear energy, as seems likely in past few year few countries have expressed interest in acquiring their capability and their commercial nuclar power plants

    Umesh17 June 2014
  • The NSG faces its most significant immediate challenge in India’s bid to join the group. However, I feel this matter actually is part of a larger and more significant conversation on whether and to what extent the NSG should be evolving. The membership guidelines that were established decades ago have served the NSG and the international nonproliferation regime well, but the question facing member states today is whether those guidelines should be subject to review and revision — that is, whether they should evolve over time.

    With respect to industry, the most important challenge for the NSG is to find ways to encourage private industry to self-regulate, and for the states that host those countries to impose and enforce export control regulations. Only a mutually beneficial public-private partnership between national governments and private-sector companies will create the strongest tools to prevent proliferation.

    Overall, my sense is that the NSG doesn’t really have much of a choice as it looks ahead. Whether or not one feels India should be a part of the NSG as a matter of principle (and personally, I feel it should not), it is not prudent to prevent India from joining. From a practical perspective, the international community stands to gain more from having India join than what it would otherwise lose if it prevented India from joining. There is no turning back now.

    Rizwan L17 June 2014
  • The most difficult aspect of this all that faces regimes today is participation and compliance. At the end of the day rhetoric will count for little unless action follows. Looking over the past few weeks it is clear that the consequences of noncompliance can be dangerous for global security. This leads into another question which was how should member states increase their effectiveness. The best way to do this is through shaming those who do not seek to join said regimes and rewarding those that do through which ever means fit the situation. However, the current steps that are being taken are leading multinational regimes in the right direction. We live in a safer world and are at a low risk for another war as catastrophic as WWII so it is obvious dialogue and regime building have had at least some positive effect on international security.

    Christopher17 June 2014
  • The most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment is related to the inclusion of India as a Member State of this non-binding regime (together with Pakistan and Israel they currently maintain nuclear programs and are considering part of the group of suppliers States). India is not a State party of the NPT and neither has signed a Safeguard Agreement for nuclear programs with the IAEA. Due to decissions taken by the NSG are made by consensus, this issue turns so controversial.

    But also another challenging issue is concerning their control lists and its necessary updating, bearing in mind the evolution of thecnology and the diverse challenges that it implicates in combating the non-proliferation goals, as well as implications in the mechanisms for workinf with the industry (as the strenghtening of the internal compliance programs in order to ensure the respect of national laws).

    The principal weakness of this kind of regime is linked with its non-enforcement mechanism for violations and therefore the implementation of its provisions are based only on the discretion of the member States.

    In this regard, it is important to consider the inclusion of all State suppliers and promote their political will to implement the guidelines according to the international provisions in order to better control the exports of nuclear materials, but at the same time update and enlarge, when necessary, the control lists od controlled exports.

    Karina Hinojosa17 June 2014
  • A significant issue is the “non-static” lists and the challenge in keeping them up to date with all current technology. Seemingly inoccuous technology that is unregulated, may become part of a WMD program through usage that is not yet widely known. As such, the lists are reactive rather than proactive.

    patricia17 June 2014
  • Challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment:
    • The proposal to include India in the NSG, against the key criterion for NSG membership: that a country have to be party to and complying with the NPT or a nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaty. (The decision it is controversial because, India has an important civil nuclear industry and continues to uphold the international non-proliferation architecture, but in the other hand the credibility of the NSG could come into question, because is a voluntary organization and the decisions are made by consensus).
    • The time to up date, the control lists, because the new technologies, materials and designs developments grow very quickly. The attached article, said that took three years to complete the up dating the last control list on nuclear and dual-use goods.

    It is hard to say that it´s wrong or it is right for NSG. But the context and real situation of the world with nuclear industries, are making pressure to NSG. I think that international community gains more having India and the other countries join the NSG, at least with symbolic steps with the NPT.

    Finally as Karina said, the weakness of this kind of regime that is linked with its non-enforcement mechanism for violations and therefore the implementation of its provisions are based only on the discretion of the member States.

    Rodolfo Gamboa17 June 2014
  • I actually feel sorry for those in the NSG and other such organisations, as their tasks are unbelievably difficult to achieve or near impossible. Especially, against the background of such “fluid” and swift changes effected by Terrorist Groups, as well as local and regional unease (or just out-right disputs/conflicts).

    Whilst some NSG states want to include India, I can fully understand some others having reservations, as there could be a perceived “double-standard”, when you have Pakistan providing Saudia Arabia with Stategic Nuclear Weapons as apart of a formal trade-agreement between these 2 nations.

    With so many global challenges, it also makes things ever-more difficult when such NSG proposals & discussions take some 3 years to get to the table and still stall. Nowadays, a lot can happen in 3 months let alone 3 years.
    LL reference to the Russian-Ukrain situation is a prime example of how inaffective the NSG and other organisations can be as there is little to “restrain” member states and little power to affect change.

    Ray Burgin17 June 2014
  • The revised lists and the comment that they are “not static” will have the largest impact on industry. Not only did industry react to the most recent changes but must remain on watch to ensure compliance in the future. This could make things difficult if under a multiyear contract to supply controlled commodities when a change occurs. Furthermore, because the lists are non-binding on member states, industry must remain cognizant of their own countries export laws and possibly the laws of other states, especially an issue for multi-national companies.

    As for whether or not the NSG is heading in the right direction, I would say I don’t think it is heading in the wrong direction. The admission of India to the NSG has many pros and cons. However, I think it is at least net benefit to have them in the group, as they have a growing civil-nuclear industry.

    Cameron L.17 June 2014
  • I read three challenges facing the NSG today. First, ever-advancing technology complicates the NSG’s ability to keep the list of controlled exports updated. Second is combating proliferation in light of India, Israel and Pakistan not being NPT members. The third challenge is certainly the internal debate over whether and how to include India in the NSG, despite its not being a member to the NPT or any nuclear-weapon-free-zone treaties.

    Two issues will impact industry. First, the updated list of controlled exports will increase the amount of goods that companies must subject to compliance and export laws. Second, allowing India to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group will create a new market for the sale and transfer of nuclear technology.

    I’m split as to whether or not the NSG is heading in the right direction. On one hand, the more members opting to observe the rules of the NSG, the better. Conversely, this will increase the amount of nuclear technology-related goods that India could proliferate via the gaps between the NSG and the NPT. If, as India and the US claim, India is already in full compliance with NSG export guidelines, perhaps going one step further and making NSG membership contingent on joining another non-proliferation regime/treaty is a viable option.

    Brett S17 June 2014
  • Among the many issues facing the NSG, the most challenging is the problem of maintaining its flexibility and effectiveness while not compromising other elements of the nonproliferation regime. One area where this dilemma is evident is the debate over granting membership to non-NSG supplier states with a history of proliferation activities. In the case of India, a non-NPT state, granting membership carries both risks and rewards. While allowing membership in the NSG may undermine the credibility of the NPT, it also could strengthen the NSG because of India’s prominence in civil nuclear industry.

    This brings up the broader issue of the role that MECRs like the NSG ought to play as part of non-proliferation efforts. Should the NSG seek to bolster more rigid treaty organizations like the NPT? Or should the NSG focus more on maintaining the flexibility and adaptability that makes it effective?

    I would argue for the moderate approach that Tellis advocates in the ACT article. If India were to take steps outside of NSG membership (e.g. signing the CTBT), it would increase the country’s legitimacy vis-à-vis the NPT while still allowing the NSG to maintain its effectiveness in harmonizing controls among supplier nations. This approach would promote stability in civilian industries while also adding a strong link to the NSG chain.

    Steven Yu17 June 2014
  • Q: What is the most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment?
    A: I consider the membership debate to be at the top of the “challenge” list for the NSG. Though Ashley Tellis dismisses the controversy over India’s potential inclusion into the NSG, China is unlikely to allow India to join the group without significant compensation (e.g. something bigger than CTBT). Pakistan, a close nuclear partner of China, has indicated its interest in joining the NSG should India be allowed in the cartel. India’s nonproliferation record is significantly more responsible than Pakistan’s history, but the India-China strategic rivalry will likely push Beijing to raise the discriminatory approach to letting in one nuclear power in South Asia, but not the other. Turkey has also mentioned these concerns. It is unclear if India would accept NSG membership if it meant Pakistan could join as well.

    India and other NSG members have criticized China’s nuclear reactor sales to non-NSG member Pakistan. While China claims these deals have been “grandfathered” in before China joined the NSG, India would likely press China further on this nuclear trade should it become an NSG member; another reason for China to block the invitation.

    Q: What issue mentioned in the ACT article might most impact industry?
    A: One reading of the article may hint at India’s inclusion to the NSG being a major impact on the global nuclear industry, but since India was already granted NSG waivers, India now has widespread access to foreign suppliers of uranium fuel and reactor technology exporters (though its domestic nuclear liability laws discourage most private industry nuclear suppliers. India’s domestic nuclear industry is not currently focused on exports of its own — at least until it is able to commercialize its long sought after thorium reactors — so India’s potential impact on the global nuclear industry as an exporter seems minimal.

    Based on my assessment of the article, the biggest impact for industry is the ability to best understand the new NSG guidelines in order to avoid potential sanctions and reputation damage, which could be crippling to their business.

    Q: Does the NSG look to be heading the right way or wrong way? What should the member states be doing to improve the effectiveness of the regime?
    A: The NSG is moving in the right direction with its updated control list, though three years is a long time as rapidly as technology changes. Especially considering how long it takes a country to update its domestic implementing legislation, this lag time is troubling. I hope the NSG will not be bogged down in these difficult membership debates and become distracted from serving its primary mission: limiting the avenues for civilian nuclear technologies from being used for military purposes.

    Timothy W17 June 2014
  • Many others have alluded to the challenges of both updating the list of controlled items and the admittance of India into the NSG. Both of these are important challenges but the latter and it’s implication for the future of norms in the international non-proliferation regime is the most challenging issue facing the NSG at this moment. Admitting India to the NSG would seem to lessen the strength of the existing non-proliferation regime. This may, however, be the impetus necessary to push forwards with other more overarching treaties like FMCT where norms are traded for more transparency and regulation of states not party to the NPT.

    As others have noted the revising of the list of controlled items will have the largest impact on industry. It will be necessary for them to be aware of updates to export control laws in any country they operate within. These changes may not all happen concurrently so extra burden will be placed on industry in the interstitial period to comply with the new list.

    Whether the current direction of the NSG is right or wrong depends on the desired end goal. Admitting India and possibly Pakistan would significantly weaken the global non-proliferation regime but it would give the NSG a large amount of influence on the export control rules of those countries. It is reasonable to argue that the concept of norms is already rapidly deteriorating as NNWS make more insistent disarmament demands that NWS are unwilling to accede to. With that argument in mind allowing India into the NSG may be better for slowing proliferation as a whole than keeping them out.

    Cameron17 June 2014
  • The most challenging issue facing the NSG is the lack of enforcement. No state is being held accountable for their actions- whether positive or negative. With control lists taking three years to review and revise, and the speed at which new technologies are coming out, the market in the meanwhile is essentially uncontrolled. I agree that it would be beneficial for nonproliferation if non-member states joined, but they would need incentive to do so, as it seems illegal acquisition has been effective. However, to re-emphasize the need for some framework of enforcement, if non-member states are brought in unwillingly and chose not to comply, there is no consequence.

    Bo K.17 June 2014
  • Possibly related to the India exemption, I see the biggest issue facing the NSG is ‘continuation’ deals like between China and Pakistan, when China claimed that the Chashma reactor complex expansion was part of an old deal, more than 20 years old if I remember, and part of their justification came from the blatant double standard applied to the India exception case. In other words, discrepant views of special treatment, or outright hypocrisy, may send member states in their own directions, challenging the mandate of the entire NSG.

    Peter Culberson17 June 2014
  • Viewing the matter of India’s admittance from a “principals” standpoint, the greatest challenge for the NSG appears to be their framework. While they were formed to increase controls, the regime’s structure appears to have been too rigid for changing times. Additionally, without a fundamental shift in their framework, the NSG will have to compromise their own guidelines for admittance in order to serve the greater good (of including India for the sake of adhering their nuclear program to a less subjective stance). One infraction can have a monumental impact on the relative authority and legitimacy of the regime, and this decision will be nothing short of setting a future precedent for other non-NSG members if they choose to include India at this time. Helping guide India, and having them demonstrate a willingness (through preemptive compliance) would better justify such a political move. On the other hand, one possible benefit to admitting India into the fold would be how smaller state suppliers would view the matter. It may be seen as a an opportunity, which could have the added effect of providing looser guidelines and incentivizing smaller countries to join the NSG.

    Industry will be affected at the strategic level if India is admitted, especially if they are admitted with a modus operandi non-conducive to the current control list or guidelines set out by the NSG. In that vein, the updated list of exports will also create tighter compliance around civilian industry dual-use goods which will cause an industry-wide increased expense to many businesses.

    The move to include India in the NSG appears to veer away from the core values of the regime despite the semi-altruistic intent. Providing guidance for states interested in complying with the NSG might be a better approach. It begs the question of how the NSG remains standing if it stands on an overly flexible platform.

    Brandon S18 June 2014
  • The most serious issue facing the NSG is how to remain an effective vehicle for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons not only to states but non-state agents. The current debate over inviting India to join the NSG is a good example of the dilemma, whereby the original nuclear states target the newer nuclear states rather than bringing them to the table to discuss controls – or as in the current case, deciding which among two nuclear rivals will join the fold.

    There certainly are reasons not to bring any state that is not party the NPT into the control groups, but the entire community of nations ends up in a Catch-22, whereby the majority of states cannot move forward on substantial actions to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. For this reason, I believe it is more important to move forward on a Nuclear Weapons Convention, which is supported by the very nations that the “recognized” nuclear powers fear will spread WMD within the existing non-proliferation paradigm.

    Here from Wikipedia:

    “Each year since 1996, the UN General Assembly has passed a resolution calling on all countries immediately to fulfill their disarmament obligation, as articulated by the International Court of Justice, “by commencing multilateral negotiations leading to an early conclusion of a nuclear weapons convention.” In 2007, 127 countries voted in favour of the resolution, including four countries with nuclear weapons: China, India, Pakistan and North Korea.”

    This is not to say that we don’t need mechanisms in place for controlling the materials needed to build weapons of mass destruction. These mechanism are essential and must become effective under a NWC, since a world free of WMD is not a static one. As long as the knowledge and materials for their construction exist, along with conditions that fuel hostilities, the possibility of – especially- non-state agents gaining access requires that these controls remain in place and grow in efficacy.

    The current “arms race” between India and Pakistan is illustrative of this point. While the U.S. may be supporting India to join the NSG, we need Pakistan’s cooperation in the “war on terror.” The rest of the world is also party to these concerns. India has an indigenous nuclear submarine, the Arihant, and Pakistan has said it could have one with help from China. Both countries are continuing to invest in more effective missile launch systems.

    But the current efforts to reign in proliferation are creating a stalemate in other areas of weapons control.
    According to the Arms Control Association, “Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Office at Geneva Zamir Akram indicated (in an interview) that the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to remove the ban on sales of nuclear material to India was a major barrier to Pakistani support for an FMCT (Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty). He said that Pakistan would support negotiations if it, too, received a waiver from the NSG.”

    Looking at this scenario, it seems to me that the next step forward should be to also bring Pakistan into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as well as invitations to the other control groups that Pres. Obama is seeking for India. Bringing these rivals to the table is good for nonproliferation.

    Valerie "Terry" Ellis18 June 2014
  • The biggest challenge facing the NSG is the danger that, as the regime seeks to resemble international industrial and political reality by incorporating states such as India, it will become more politicized and sclerotic. Understanding that all such regimes always have and always will be subject to the influence of international politics, the NSG’s strength is that is it able to be a relatively nimble and adaptable organization, focused primarily on the technical aspects of nuclear proliferation. An increasingly politicized organization would likely be weaker in this regard.

    This can only be mitigated by a focus on the part of its members on the technical questions at hand, and by placing greater priority on pragmatism over outdated principle (as in this case, where India should clearly gain access to the NSG).

    Pat Devane18 June 2014
  • What is the most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment?
    Probably the most challenging issue facing the NSG at the moment is attempting to keep up with technology and dealing with states like India that are nuclear capable but outside of the NPT and the group itself. Coming up with lists that restrict items that are dual use in such a way that balances risk with the fact that denying these items hurts business and other countries economies can not be easy. It would be easy for those that are denied these items to feel as if they were biased against. It is a difficult balance to find, and to even maintain.

    What issue mentioned in the ACT article might most impact industry?
    The biggest issue for industry would be trying to keep up to date with new control lists, expanding compliance staffing, etc. so as not to suffer reputational risk or fees and fines that can be severe even for accidental proliferation.

    Does the NSG look to be heading the right way or wrong way? What should the member states be doing to improve the effectiveness of the regime?

    One key way that the NSG can move forward in the right way is to include states like India, Pakistan and Israel. The NPT is important, but it is better to bring these states into the group so that the risk of proliferation can be lowered than remain dogmatic.

    Leon Whyte18 June 2014
  • I wouldn’t say that there is just one challenging issue. There are many. First, private sector compliance: they’re making outreach to the private sector a priority, but it’s still incredibly challenging. Second, keeping up with new technological developments and updating lists accordingly. Third, politics! I tried to read between the lines on the India issue, but I’m still puzzled. It seems they are trying to wind their way through every possible loophole to justify admitting India. I’m not sure if the group is trying to reward India for better behavior or trying to offend Pakistan for their lack of cooperation. I’m not sure this is a wise strategy. It could backfire.

    Moyara28 June 2014
  • I agree that updating control lists based on new technologies is a challenge. It is both bureaucratic and political, and could be solved with greater transparency between nations. Of course, that is easier said than done. As for admitting India, I think it’d cause too much controversy via tensions with Pakistan.

    Cypress Haddad4 July 2014

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