The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had a plenary meeting in Seoul last week, and all members participated in a special conference on Thursday evening about the accession of non-participants of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) into the NSG. At least 10 countries, including China, have opposed their bid.
India is not a signatory to the NPT, but is the most active applicant to join the NSG. Before the Seoul meeting, the Indian media played up the prospects of its bid. Some even claim that among the 48 members of the NSG, 47 have given it a green light, except China.
Since its foundation in 1975, all NSG members shall be NPT signatories. This has become the primary principle of the organization. Now India wants to be the first exception to join the NSG without signing the NPT. It is morally legitimate for China and other members to upset India’s proposal in defense of principles.
However, Indian public opinion has reacted quite strongly. A few Indian media outlets started to vilify China’s position, and some Indians even called for a boycott of Chinese-made products and a withdrawal from the BRICS group.
US backing adds the biggest impetus to India’s ambition. By cozying up to India, Washington’s India policy actually serves the purpose of containing China.
The US is not the whole world. Its endorsement does not mean India has won the backing of the world. This basic fact, however, has been ignored by India.
Some Indians’ accusations do not make any sense. China’s action is based on international norms, but India’s reaction seems to indicate that their national interests can override principles recognized by the world.
Recent years have seen the Western world giving too many thumbs up to India, but thumbs down to China. India is spoiled. Although the South Asian country’s GDP accounts for only 20 percent of that of China, it is still a golden boy in the eyes of the West, having a competitive edge and more potential compared to China. The international “adulation” of India makes the country a bit smug in international affairs.
On Monday, the Missile Technology Control Regime absorbed India as a new member, and denied China’s access. The news didn’t even make a ripple among the Chinese public. The Chinese have become more mature in dealing with these setbacks caused by international relations.
Some Indians are too self-centered and self-righteous. On the contrary, the Indian government behaves decently and is willing to communicate. Throwing a tantrum won’t be an option for New Delhi.
India’s nationalists should learn how to behave themselves. Now that they wish their country could be a major power, they should know how major powers play their games.