The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for twenty years—until the 1990s—successfully avoided geostrategic confrontation in administering multilateral nuclear export controls. Since then, largely prompted by the NSG’s considerations about its relationship with India, the strategic rivalries of important suppliers—the United States and its allies, Russia, and China—have played out in the group’s deliberations. Several developments have favored this trend: the rise of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; loss of influence on the United States and emergence of post-Cold War multipolarity; suppliers’ greater expectations for nuclear commerce; and reduced commitment of suppliers to multilateral diplomacy. If in the future suppliers increasingly heed national strategic and commercial interests, at least in the short term the NSG's requirement for consensus decision making and the specificity of the NSG guidelines may deter any efforts to roll back common understandings about how the nuclear trade regime should function. In the longer term, suppliers who wrest leadership from the U.S. may seek to make changes, and the NSG may have to become less informal to meet future challenges.


In 1975, seven countries formed what became the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in response to India having detonated a nuclear explosive device; it contained materials that Canada and the United States asserted had been diverted by India to a non-peaceful use in violation of bilateral nuclear trade agreements. The NSG’s founding members accounted for nearly all states that possessed the technological and industrial capacity to build nuclear weapons from scratch. They pledged to vigorously restrain the transfer of nuclear wares to would-be proliferators. Over the years, the number of NSG member states increased, but from the outset the group’s core membership included two geostrategic adversaries: the Soviet Union and the United States. Regardless of their global rivalry, the two superpowers throughout the Cold War cooperated without interruption in administering the NSG and the nuclear trade regime. The effectiveness of the group was never threatened by East-West political strife; the U.S. and the Soviet Union proved to be like-minded on most issues concerning preventing nuclear nonproliferation including threats that emerged as a consequence of exports of nuclear material, equipment, and technology.

Mark Hibbs
Hibbs is a Germany-based nonresident senior fellow in Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program. His areas of expertise are nuclear verification and safeguards, multilateral nuclear trade policy, international nuclear cooperation, and nonproliferation arrangements.
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Today’s nuclear trade regime is very different from that which prevailed before the 1990s. The NSG remains bound by informal and consensus rule-making but it now has 48 members and is beset with the challenge of including future participants that have advanced and complex industrial nuclear fuel cycle industries and nuclear weapons but no legacy of commitment to nonproliferation or to effective nuclear export controls. Two such potential candidates, India and Pakistan, are adversaries and have strategic relationships with powerful NSG members: India is rapidly developing close ties with the United States and its allies in the Asia-Pacific region; Pakistan has an increasingly firm "all-weather" alliance with China. After the end of the Cold War, first Russia, and then China, tested the credibility of the NSG by exporting nuclear equipment to India and Pakistan, respectively, without either recipient state having full-scope safeguards on their nuclear activities as the guidelines required. In coming years, the United States, which for decades exerted strong, even hegemonic influence in the NSG, may lose its firm grip on the group, a process that may already have begun.

Since 2011, the NSG has considered including India as a member without reaching a necessary consensus agreement. Since 2016, China has departed from its previous expressions of ambiguous reluctance to support India’s membership in the NSG in favor of a position that appears to categorically exclude India. Efforts by NSG members to extend participation to India were also challenged by the possibility that after admitting India, New Delhi would thereafter as a matter of policy thwart consensus in the group to permit Pakistan to join. A 2016 gambit to secure India's membership, launched by a former NSG chairman, specifically aimed to obtain an agreement by India not to stand in the way of Islamabad’s eventual participation. That same year, the United States and its strategic allies in the NSG increasingly and aggressively pressed other NSG members to admit India but the effort ultimately ran aground because of opposition from China. Separately, both Russia and China have forged bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements with scores of countries with the aim of advancing the exports of nuclear equipment by Russian and Chinese nuclear state-owned enterprises to these destinations, while nuclear industry firms in North America, Europe, and Japan suffered life-threatening political and financial crises. 

These developments raise the question of whether in the coming years the effectiveness and credibility of the NSG and the nuclear trade regime will, to an unprecedented degree, be increasingly challenged by the high national security politics and strategic ambitions of its participating governments.

This paper examines how the NSG—an arrangement that was established to serve the relatively narrow technocratic ambition of a small number of states with sensitive nuclear technologies to prevent the spread of such capabilities—became increasingly subject to efforts of powerful members to interpret the group's rules, or make exceptions, to reflect national interests that were not consensual. The article identifies several dynamics that contributed to that development: the rise of the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as a focus of global nuclear nonproliferation governance; the expansion of NSG membership to include states whose views in some areas departed from the core membership of major supplier states; rising expectations for nuclear trade in the strategic thinking of major supplier states; the post-Cold War emergence of multipolarity in international nuclear energy diplomacy and the relative decline of the United States as a nuclear industry vendor state; an increase in the global visibility of the NSG guidelines; and finally, an erosion of the major supplier states' commitment to multilateralism.

Geopolitics and the NSG

When governments of the world’s nuclear supplier countries responded to India’s 1974 nuclear explosive test by forming the NSG, it was a foregone conclusion that, in addition to the United States, its ally Japan, and other Western countries with sensitive nuclear capabilities, the group would include the Soviet Union. The alleged misuse of U.S. and Canadian controlled items by India strongly resonated with the Soviet Union in light of its unhappy nuclear cooperation experience with Beijing leading up to China's first nuclear weapons test in 1964; it had benefited from nuclear technology assistance provided by Moscow beginning in 1955. During the late 1950s, the Soviets became increasingly unnerved by Mao Zedong’s nuclear weapons ambitions and they finally canceled nuclear cooperation with China in 1961, two years after having declined to provide Beijing nuclear weapons design information.1 Thereafter, Soviet concern about the spread of nuclear weapons to states on its periphery apparently overtrumped ideological distrust of the United States' "Atoms for Peace" program, dedicated since the early 1950s to extending American's influence in the world by sharing its nuclear technology, uranium fuel, and growing nuclear industrial might with other countries. Within a decade, Moscow had joined Washington in making nuclear reactors, technology, and uranium fuel available to allies in Europe and to freshly-minted post-colonialist states in what was then called the "Third World."

In 1978, the NSG published its initial set of export control guidelines after just a few weeks of drafting and followed up by swift approval by all participating governments; the NSG did not meet again until 1991.2 During that intermission and for several years thereafter, "There was an understanding with the Soviets that we would keep our politics out of the NSG and that was what happened."3 The two superpowers’ restrained behavior in the NSG mirrored their comportment at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and in NPT Review Conference diplomacy for a quarter century. At all three venues, the two shared the common aim to prevent other states from obtaining nuclear weapons. During the 1980s and early 1990s, both superpowers shared intelligence information to snuff out the former South African Apartheid state’s nuclear weapons program.4 The U.S. and the Soviet Union were especially motivated to police nuclear energy development in their own respective front line client states: for the USSR the watch list was led off by the German Democratic Republic, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and friendly states in the Middle East and Africa that were fighting proxy anti-colonialist "wars of liberation;" for the United States. attention was focused upon the Federal Republic of Germany, Taiwan, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

The two sides’ agreement to cooperate did not imply that they weren’t keenly aware of their geostrategic competition including inside the nuclear trade control arrangement. Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. National Security Advisor under President Jimmy Carter, viewed NSG participating governments’ consideration to expand the NSG’s membership from a Cold War perspective. He told Carter in March 1977 that "In an expanded group, the Soviet Union would gain direct access to Western suppliers' relations with Western consumers," and for that reason, Brzezinski advised Carter not to embrace it. But at the working level, as Brzezinski’s memo pointed out in passing, before that, inside the NSG the United States had already discussed the matter with the Soviet Union.5

From the superpowers’ point of view, during the 1980s and 1990s, a bigger challenge than NSG membership expansion was restive nuclear development by their client states. Moscow and Washington were on the same page in pursuing revelations that a West German exporter was transshipping Soviet-origin heavy water to nuclear programs in Pakistan and India using false end-user declarations; the Soviet Union thereafter cracked down on officials in Ukraine who were shipping Soviet heavy water abroad in quantities just below the threshold of 1,000 kilograms that under the NSG and Zangger Committee guidelines would prompt trigger list nuclear trade controls.6 The United States for its part vigorously urged its allies, especially West Germany, to close legal loopholes in their export control laws.

This U.S.-Soviet like-mindedness began to erode a few years after the end of the Cold War. The first significant instance arose over the Russian Federation's ambitions to export nuclear power reactors to India. Under new rules agreed to by the NSG in 1992, henceforth suppliers’ exports of goods especially designed or prepared for nuclear use, including nuclear power reactors and their fuel, would be prohibited to states such as India that are defined as non-nuclear weapon states under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) unless they accepted "full-scope safeguards" by the IAEA on all of their nuclear activities.7 Russia claimed that its planned power reactor export to India was grandfathered by a bilateral nuclear cooperation with New Delhi that had been concluded four years before the NSG established the full-scope safeguards requirement.8 At the NSG, the United States objected to this transaction and insisted that Russia provide documentation that its 1988 trade agreement with India included a commercial contract for the power reactors in question. Russia did not honor the request and the Russo-Indian transaction went forward.9 In 2001, Russia exported nuclear fuel to India for two U.S.-supplied power reactors located at Tarapur and invoked a clause in the NSG guidelines that permits a supplier to transfer items to a recipient without full-scope safeguards "in exceptional cases when they are deemed essential for the safe operation of existing facilities."10 Virtually all NSG participating governments believed that these exports violated the guidelines and in 2004 Russia suspended fuel supply to the Indian reactors. However, in 2006, in light of intervening events discussed below, Russia again invoked the safety exception; this time there was little opposition from other states in the group; Russia shipped the nuclear fuel to India and two years later Russian Nuclear Power Corporation of India for additional supply of uranium for the Tarapur reactors.11

In 2005, the United States and India announced they would negotiate a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation—a precondition under U.S. law for the export of U.S. power reactors and fuel—which, to enter into force, would require that the NSG make an exception to the full-scope safeguards requirement for transfers of such items to India. Initially, the U.S. had mulled requesting the NSG to lift this hurdle on India on the basis of specific criteria that India would have to meet. Instead, the U.S., France, and Russia, all of which sought to export nuclear equipment to India, insisted that a unique exception should be made for India without any reference to conditions or criteria.12 In September 2008, after the U.S. applied diplomatic pressure to a number of states that had raised reservations or objections to making an exception for India, the NSG by consensus granted the exception; as a consequence India today may import NSG-listed items from participating governments.13

In the wake of the NSG’s exception for India, China, which had joined the NSG in 2004 and had concluded sales of two power reactors to Pakistan before that date, stepped up its civilian nuclear trade with Pakistan. When it explained its nuclear export plans to the NSG upon joining the group in 2004, Beijing stated that it would continue to supply fuel for the two reactors at Chashma that it had already exported to Pakistan but it did not disclose that it had plans to export any additional power reactors to that country. Pakistani officials in 2006 explained however that China in fact intended to export more reactors to Pakistan but also that China would not announce these transactions until after India and the United States had approved entry into force of the above-noted India-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement.14 China accordingly made known in 2010 that two more reactors would be exported to Pakistan as Chashma-3 and -4, and at the NSG Beijing informed the group that these exports were grandfathered by a prior bilateral nuclear trade pact with Pakistan. Beginning in 2010 and since, the United States has formally contested Beijing’s claim that the exports are legitimate; as in the case of the Russian exports to India between 1998 and 2006, China provided no substantiation of its assertion to NSG participating governments that a previous commercial contract had been concluded allowing the transfers.15 In the meantime, the matter is no longer actively pursued by the NSG’s collective membership at NSG meetings, and China has continued to expand upon its nuclear power cooperation with Pakistan by setting up additional nuclear power plants at sites at Chashma and Karachi.16

Current NSG Developments

China has also figured increasingly and significantly in NSG deliberations on including India as a member of the group. Since 2015, Beijing included unique national interests as a rationale for its growing reservations concerning Indian membership.

During internal discussion in the NSG concerning the U.S.-proposed exception to the guidelines for India, China in the 2000s had urged that the NSG decide the matter on the basis of "non-discrimination;" this was interpreted by many participants to mean that the group should, addition to India, equally consider the interests of China’s ally Pakistan. If as some observers concluded that prior to the NSG’s 2008 exception decision on India China’s attitude toward the Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation initiative was "moderate, restrained, and flexible," after the decision, China stepped up its nuclear cooperation with Pakistan as described above.17 Following the announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011 that the U.S. would support India’s bid for NSG membership, China formulated and articulated its response based on its own strategic calculus.

The NSG has so far considered India’s membership for seven years beginning in 2011. Whereas a number of NSG participants in 2011 urged Washington not to repeat its 2007-2008 efforts to forge a consensus in favor of India using diplomatic pressure, in 2016 the United States increasingly pleaded with NSG participants to award India membership before Obama left office om January 2017. The U.S. may have succeeded in eroding the resistance of nearly all recalcitrant states to including India in the group by the end of 2016, but during this same period China’s position on Indian membership became more clearly negative and—uncharacteristically for China—more public, thereby less flexible.18

NSG participants could conclude by 2015 that China's cost and benefit calculation about potential Indian NSG membership appeared to be tilting Beijing against admitting India. By then China expressed the position that it would not support U.S. efforts on India’s behalf to join the NSG so long as the U.S. opposed admitting China into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a step Washington was not prepared to take especially in consideration of alleged Chinese ballistic missile-related exports to North Korea and Pakistan.19 As time went on, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made public statements that appeared increasingly uncompromising, ultimately conditioning Beijing’s acceptance of Indian NSG membership upon that country’s joining the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon state, a step that India will not take for reasons of national security and principle.20

Ultimately, in the view of some NSG participants and senior Indian diplomats, China’s opposition to Indian membership was founded upon its geostrategic rivalry with India. Whatever the benefits of Indian membership would be to the NSG—led off by including a country with sensitive fuel cycle nuclear activities and nuclear weapons—to China the downsides included consideration that. as one participant explained, "membership in the NSG would be put at the top of India's curriculum vita" to advance New Delhi's quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, a step that Beijing thus far opposes.21

China’s calculus on Indian NSG membership may also include India’s designs to become a serious competitor to China as an exporter of nuclear power plant systems and equipment, since India’s reasons for wanting NSG membership include the expectation that participation would facilitate India’s involvement in the global nuclear power industry supply chain.22 In any event, during the NSG’s more than half-decade consideration of India’s possible membership, China accelerated its efforts to establish the basis for future bilateral nuclear cooperation with, and nuclear power plant exports to, a raft of nations, including Argentina, Armenia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, and the United Kingdom.23 In this, China joins Russia, which has likewise made known its ambitions to export nuclear power plants to over a score of potential clients worldwide including Armenia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, India, Iran, Jordan, Slovakia, Turkey, and Vietnam.24 India, so far, has announced no such concrete plans for nuclear power plant export or bilateral nuclear cooperation arrangements meant to anticipate Indian exports of power reactors.

From the outset of the NSG’s consideration of India’s relationship to the group in 2005, Pakistan also made known that it would seek parity with India. China's interventions in favor of "non-discrimination" appeared to lift Pakistan's prospects during the NSG's deliberations about the India exception to the full-scope safeguards rule. But China’s increasingly public statements beginning in 2015 linking Indian NSG membership to a future and necessary Indian NPT commitment led many participating governments to conclude that China was not seriously committed to admitting Pakistan into the NSG.25 Nonetheless, during efforts made by NSG participants to negotiate a consensus agreement to admit India before the end of Obama’s presidency, Argentina’s Ambassador to the IAEA and former NSG Chairman, Rafael Grossi, secured an agreement in principle from New Delhi that, should India be admitted as an NSG member, India would not in the future block consensus agreement of the group to admit Pakistan—a condition that had been prompted by NSG members’ concern that not only China but also India would view future NSG membership decisions through a national strategic lens.26

The Rise of Strategic Considerations in the NSG

During the second half of 2017, individuals who in recent years have participated in NSG activities and decision making on behalf of their governments explained that in their view, the deliberations of the group since the 1990s have become increasingly beset with strategic considerations of member states that are separate from issues specifically concerning nuclear trade controls. Some interlocutors advised that the NSG should consider and take steps to deter greater future strategic politicization of the activities of the arrangement.

During the last two decades, the NSG’s consideration of its future relationship with India served most often as the immediate catalyst for major supplier states’ geostrategic behavior and decision-making. This was abetted since the mid-2000s by pressure from the United States, supported by its allies and other major supplier states, to except India from NSG guidelines and thereafter to admit India as a member.

Several possible partial explanations may explain the rise of national strategic behavior by participating governments since the NSG was established in the 1970s: NPT politics; rising expectations for international nuclear commerce; the emergence of geostrategic multi-polarity; the waning of U.S. hegemonic influence; the increasing visibility of the NSG's guidelines; and a general trend among participating governments toward declining commitment to multilateral diplomacy. Each of these will be discussed in turn.

NPT and Disarmament Politics

In the shadow cast by India’s 1974 nuclear explosive test, nuclear supplier states established the NSG convinced that the NPT would not suffice to prevent the spread of nuclear arms. Accordingly, the group’s guidelines and commodity control list exceeded the conditions and restrictions imposed by a previously convened group, known as the Zangger Committee, that had been established to interpret the NPT’s safeguards requirements concerning the application of IAEA safeguards to transfers of goods especially designed or prepared for nuclear use. Many non-nuclear-weapon state NPT parties thereafter objected that the limited-membership NSG was a "cartel" that intended to deny access to nuclear goods and that it was therefore not legitimate. The potential significance and impact of such objections were limited until 1992, when the NSG formally adopted IAEA full-scope safeguards as condition for supply of trigger-list items to non-nuclear weapon states, a step that in effect linked the NSG to the NPT. The NSG could make that link only after all its members were NPT parties; the sole NSG participant that since 1975 was not a party to the NPT, France, joined the treaty in 1992. When the NPT was indefinitely extended in 1995, suppliers underscored that nuclear trade privileges for non-nuclear weapon states would be limited to states that implemented NPT full-scope safeguards commitments, and NSG participating governments since 1995 routinely reiterated that policy in preparation for and during five-year NPT review conferences.

These developments were not without impact: When beginning in 2005 a small number of powerful NSG members urged the rest to make a unique exception to this policy for India, that country’s non-NPT status became a lightning rod for a cluster of NSG members for whom the group’s relationship to the NPT mattered greatly. This dynamic has ensured that for over a decade and until now the NPT has been the focal point of internal NSG discussion about India’s qualifications for future NSG membership.

The fact that since 2010 the nuclear weapon states have not continued on a trajectory of nuclear disarmament, following the conclusion of nuclear arms control and nuclear arms reduction agreements at the end of the Cold War, has contributed to the persistence of suspicion or even cynical contempt that many less-developed non-nuclear weapon states express for the NSG, and this has encouraged a kernel of "principled" participants within the group to remain critical of efforts led by major supplier states to include India.

Membership Expansion

When the NSG was formed in the late 1970s, all members were states that were deploying nuclear power reactors and had developed sensitive nuclear fuel cycle capabilities; the majority had nuclear weapons or in the past had engaged in nuclear weapons-related research and development work. In ensuing years, participation in the NSG was expanded, including as a matter of policy all 28 members of the European Union. A few EU states were, in the words of an NSG participant official from a nuclear power equipment vendor country, "not real nuclear suppliers."27 NSG members with comparatively little investment in nuclear technology and little industrial capacity are more inclined to take positions that are less informed by commercial and technology policy development interests. A small cluster of countries with modest nuclear industries and without nuclear power generating capacity, most prominently Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand, for over a decade have taken strongly principled positions that were critical of initiatives advanced by powerful supplier states on behalf of India. These critical states routinely assert that their principled views reflect the best interests of the NPT.

This development in effect returned NSG policy making full circle: Whereas the NSG had been established in 1975 by supplier states convinced that they must go beyond the NPT to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, outspoken new members more recently view the NPT instead as the point of departure for global nuclear nonproliferation diplomacy. To these states, India’s status outside the NPT and without full-scope safeguards is of paramount concern; persistent and aggressive efforts by major supplier states beginning in the mid-2000s to include India in the NSG as a member have always carried the risk that they might escalate into a rhetorical debate over what should be the NSG’s fundamental principles and objectives. In the view of major suppliers, the NSG cannot be effective and credible in the long term unless all states with nuclear weapons and sensitive nuclear capabilities are included. But in the view of some members, including India in the NSG would recklessly provide nuclear trade privileges to a state that is and would indefinitely remain outside the nearly universal treaty that is the cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

Rising Nuclear Trade Expectations

Throughout most of the NSG’s history, growth expectations for the nuclear power industry in significantly supplier states were modest. In the United States, for example, after having initiated projects through the late 1970s that led to construction of over one hundred nuclear power reactors, no new construction projects were initiated until 2013, thanks in part to a severe accident in 1979 at the Three Mile Island-2 nuclear power plant, to nationwide electricity sector deregulation, and to penetration by cheap natural gas into the U.S. power market. A nuclear power plant construction boom in Europe matching America’s slowed to a crawl during the 1980s and has not revived. Russia’s plans for continued nuclear power capacity expansion were interrupted for a decade in 1986 by the Chernobyl-4 accident. Japan and South Korea continued to build nuclear power plants into the 2010s but until very recently these countries had no nuclear power plant export ambitions matching their capabilities.

Expectations for nuclear power changed at the end of the 1990s when many experts predicted that the nuclear power industry’s fortunes would soon be reversed worldwide. The NSG’s major equipment and uranium supplier countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America regions anticipated a coming "nuclear renaissance" that would be driven by economic growth and power demand in both established markets and in "newcomer" countries, as well as by the specter of global climate change. Additionally, China in the early 2000s dramatically accelerated its nuclear industry deployments, and India announced ambitious plans for importing nuclear power plants. NSG participants that most strongly advocated including India in the NSG—the United States, France, and Russia—beginning during the 2000s all began making plans to export modern turnkey nuclear power plants to India. Their nuclear industries strongly figured in the formation of government policy on the NSG’s decision making favoring India. The appetites of supplier states’ nuclear industries were whetted by unfounded Indian government projections that India’s nuclear power capacity might be expanded tenfold between the mid-2000s until 2020.28

Emerging Geostrategic Multi-polarity

When the NSG was established, the geostrategic world had already been strongly bipolar for a quarter century. By 1975, both superpowers had a mutual interest in preventing international nuclear trade from contributing to the creation of new, and potentially unpredictable, nuclear armed states. Beginning not long after the Cold War came to an end, Russia over time appears to have rebalanced its nonproliferation interests; Moscow remained in principle committed to horizontal nonproliferation, but especially since the late 1990s increasingly viewed its participation in multilateral regimes and organizations as platforms for the expression of Moscow’s unique self-determined strategic interests. China, which joined the NSG in 2004, likewise was inclined to temper its commitment to multilateral nuclear governance by consideration of its own strategic objectives and relationships. Most participating governments in the NSG in recent years have concluded internally that both China’s and Russia’s nuclear trade with Pakistan and India, respectively, represented a challenge to, and a departure from, the NSG's guidelines and, in the view of some participants, remains defiantly opportunistic and transactional. If so, in the view of some observers, these states are treading a path that was first chartered by the United States and France in the 1980s and then later by China and Russia concerning the fuel supply for the U.S.-supplied Tarapur nuclear power plant in India. According to this perspective, acquiescence by the U.S. in 2006 to assure a supply of fuel for Tarapur amounted to an incipient effort to exempt India from the NSG guidelines. After the U.S. withdrew from a negotiated arrangement to supply the fuel for the reactor, other NSG participating governments stepped in to permit India to continue to operate the Tarapur plant under IAEA safeguards.29

As in the case of Russian exports of nuclear fuel and power reactors to India, China’s nuclear trade with Pakistan had an industrial policy component since China’s leading state-owned nuclear enterprise responsible for this commerce, the China National Nuclear Corporation, was keen to establish a track record for exporting nuclear power plants in the expectation that the global market for nuclear power plant sales would in coming years be lucrative. China’s plans for Pakistan include building three Hualong-1 (HPR-1000) power reactors, China’s most recent model for which Beijing claims all the intellectual property is indigenous. Construction on the first of these units began in 2015 and in 2016, respectively.30 Above all, however, China’s nuclear trade with Pakistan was and is strategic, part of a package of assistance to Islamabad that would be rewarded by national security-related benefits, including Pakistan affording China’s navy access to port facilities that were under development on the Arabian Sea, and Pakistan playing a key role in China’s One Belt One Road strategic trade initiative.31

The ambition of the United States and its allies since the early 2000s to include India into the NSG’s orbit was likewise founded upon a combination of strategic and commercial motivations.

Since the 2000s, the nuclear industries of France, Japan, South Korea, and the United States all planned to benefit from lifting the NSG's ban on nuclear trade with India, and all four states joined Russia in supporting including India in the NSG. U.S. vendor Westinghouse after the 2008 NSG exception decision negotiated the outlines of a deal for construction of six nuclear power reactors in India that may have been worth more than $20 billion.32 In 2016, Electricite de France, which will soon acquire Areva’s nuclear power business in a French nuclear industry makeover, signed contracts with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to build six power reactors at another site in India.33 South Korea signed a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement with India in July 2011 and has made known it wants to build nuclear power plants in India.34 In November 2016, Japan and India agreed to a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement that included provisions for Japanese industry to make nuclear equipment in India.35 Australia and Canada will export uranium to India to fuel its future nuclear power plants.36 These pending nuclear industry partnerships and projects are part of a larger picture of efforts by India, foreign governments, and foreign companies to intensify bilateral economic and business ties in step with warming relationships between India and Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

Especially given India’s lack of connection to the world’s nuclear supply chain following from New Delhi's non-NPT status, no foreign nuclear power vendor firm would be prepared to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to prepare for possible future nuclear power cooperation projects with Indian counterparts unless it were confident that the political risks were acceptable. Support in this direction was provided however by governments in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, and the United States, all of which since the 2000s have prioritized improving their commercial and strategic relationships with India.

Over the last decade, India and the United States have aimed at cementing a defense partnership that according to some accounts has both a technology and a strategic component. The strategic component envisions "broad convergence of geopolitical interests" and a "maturing" of bilateral ties "into more sophisticated convergence, joint military operations, and multi-layered security and intelligence cooperation."37

The 2005 Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation initiative, as well as U.S. efforts beginning in 2011 to gain India’s admittance to four multilateral strategic trade control regimes including the NSG, must be seen in the light of an evolving strategic relationship between India and the U.S. and its Asian-Pacific allies. Some participants and strategists in the U.S. openly acknowledged beginning in 2006 that Washington's "nuclear deal" with New Delhi was about offsetting rising Chinese power and influence.38

Waning U.S. Nuclear Industry Influence

Since the beginning of the NSG, the United States has been the most important participant in many NSG activities. It led many of the internal discussions by virtue of its leadership in the nuclear technology and nuclear industry sectors, by its comparatively greater investment in government agency personnel having knowledge of nuclear technology and proliferation issues, and by its overall hegemonic status and capacity. U.S. intelligence information served as the basis of important NSG decision making concerning the development and administration of commodity control lists and in internal deliberations concerning current proliferation threats and the effectiveness of NSG controls. U.S. political power and influence facilitated decision making about membership including through the arrangement of side-payments to persuade potential new member states to conform to the aspirations of the nuclear trade regime as a condition of their participation.39

More recently, the United States has lost leadership in many areas concerning nuclear technology development. Its nuclear industry is in crisis. The current U.S. administration aims through 2020 to reduce America’s multilateral nuclear footprint by cutting funding to U.S. national laboratories and federal government agencies that have been critical to U.S. multilateral nuclear leadership.40 In the view of some participants, the emergence of a U.S. leadership vacuum, including at the NSG, will encourage other supplier states to, as they see fit, challenge conventional understandings about interpretation of the NSG guidelines.

Greater Visibility of NSG Guidelines

Some NSG participants assert that a certain politicization of the group’s activities has been encouraged by greater awareness outside the NSG of its guidelines. This is difficult to substantiate; if true, then two developments may be significant in this regard.

The first is the passage in April 2004 of the United Nations Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1540. It obligates all UN Member States under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to develop and enforce legal and regulatory measures against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Chapter VII link compels all states to pass laws that criminalize non-state actors' activities related to nuclear proliferation and to adopt the resolution and report to the UN on national implementation.41 Beginning in 2004, the rotating chairs of the NSG conducted outreach to the Chairs of the 1540 Committee and to UN Member States "working to avail of the expertise of the NSG participating governments to fulfill their obligations in implementing UNSCR 1540."42 Some members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have reacted by criticizing resolution 1540 and have communicated the NAM’s views to NAM members and observers in the NSG with the intention of influencing internal discussion about the NSG's list and guidelines. Thanks to UNSCR 1540, "there is new a feedback loop from states outside the NSG that are now using the guidelines and who want to influence their future contents."43

The second, related, development is the general increase over time of UN mandated sanctions regimes. In recent years, two of these sanctions regimes—concerning Iran and North Korea—have specifically included reference to the NSG control lists. To the extent that all UN Member States must heed nuclear sanctions against these countries, they must familiarize themselves and implement export controls specified by the NSG lists concerning sanctioned states.

Multilateral Institutions in Crisis

Ultimately, perhaps the most profound reason to explain why the NSG now and in the future may be more often confronted by participating states’ national strategic ambitions is that important supplier states have grown disenchanted with international institutions. Strategic trade officials in NSG participating governments express concern that key countries—China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States—have in recent years demonstrated that they either value multilateral arrangements less and/or have attempted to use them to gain strategic advantage over others in the arrangements. Beyond the world of nuclear trade controls, a greater focus on states’ national aspirations and strategic objectives may also have played out in the Brexit decision in the United Kingdom, in pushback in Europe against the EU, and in a recent rise in "preferentialism" in international trade agreements over negotiated multilateral global trade rounds sponsored by the World Trade Organization.44

The United States under President George W. Bush, U.S. trade control officials said. was less committed to multilateral trade diplomacy than under Bush's predecessors. Officials have also indicated that both Bush and Obama viewed the NSG as a platform to further plans to create a strategic alliance with India to counter Chinese power. Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged diplomats to more strongly defend Russian national strategic interests in multilateral fora including on nuclear matters, and Moscow may no longer share key nonproliferation understandings with Washington specific to safeguards, nuclear security, and nuclear trade. China "may feel that the rules for the NSG and other control regimes were made by somebody else, so they in the future will aim to change these rules in their favor."45

Regimes are Political: The MTCR Case

The NSG is one of several multilateral control regimes for sensitive or strategic trade. Some of these—such as the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement for dual-use items and conventional arms, and the Australia Group for chemical and biological exports—are non-binding mechanisms, intended to be flexible and informal, implying that decision making by participants in some cases would ultimately be based on political judgements—not the fine print of export control guidelines. From that point of view, the expectation that decisions by NSG members must be informed by regime/normative concerns as distinct from national interests would at critical moments be honored in the breach rather than the rule.

Accordingly, the NSG is not the only strategic trade arrangement that has been challenged in the post-Cold War period by the resolve of Russian state industry to shelter its exports. Not long after Russia joined the MTCR in 1995, allegations surfaced that Moscow had violated the MTCR guidelines in exporting items to India, Iran, and elsewhere.46 The United States and other MTCR members bent the rules by agreeing to generous interpretations of the MTCR guidelines, on the basis of political calculations, to permit Brazil, Ukraine, and South Korea to become members of the group without abandoning their development of offensive missiles.47 These inconsistencies in application of the MTCR rules followed from an understanding among members of the arrangement, reached during its formative years, that a transparent criteria-based system for admitting new members would not be practicable.48

The experience of the MTCR likewise suggests that, over time, increasing ambiguity and arbitrariness regarding how regime rules are interpreted by members may be due to both opportunism on the part of participants and to genuine differences about how norms should be interpreted in the light of new technology developments, in the case of the MTCR, concerning drones and space technologies. In a similar fashion as discussed above for the NSG, the informal and non-binding nature of decision making in the MTCR has provided a permissive environment for the interpretation of norms. Compliance problems in the MTCR are also in large part due to strong commercial pressures upon MTCR participating governments from their national industries. In any event, the track record of MTCR includes examples where individual participating governments permitted transfers of weapons systems that others in the group believed violated the MTCR guidelines.49

In light of the MTCR’s track record of rule-bending on some critical occasions, it would be reasonable to anticipate that should China and Russia’s expectations about nuclear power’s future market potential be confirmed in years ahead, the NSG's major supplier states may more frequently act opportunistically and even unilaterally in interpreting the NSG guidelines in the interest of strategic trade objectives.50

What Does the Future Hold?

In the view of a number of NSG participants, the trend over the last two decades toward a certain politicization of the group’s activities will continue to pose a challenge to effectiveness and perhaps even sustainability, independent of the future direction or intensity of nuclear commerce. In the short term, consensus decision making and the specificity of the NSG guidelines will deter members from singlehandedly distorting the arrangement in their favor. Based on the experience of major supplier states’ behavior in the group since the late 1990s—notably the United States, France, and Russia concerning India, as well as China concerning Pakistan—should supplier states’ industries expect greater opportunities to export nuclear materials and equipment in coming years, it will be more likely that their governments will come under pressure to more firmly represent their interests in the nuclear trade regime.

During the last half-decade, Russia and China have lined up bilateral nuclear cooperation relationships with a number of countries that until the present have no experience with nuclear power deployment and, in some cases, little experience with complex and risk-laden engineering projects. Regardless of the view of many participants that both Russia and China have not respected the NSG guidelines in specific instances, most NSG members appear not to be concerned that a forthcoming strategic export drive by either Russia or China would pose an export control or nuclear proliferation risk. Officials from NSG participating government express broad confidence that no participating supplier state would likely willingly approve export of trigger list items to proliferating destinations or end-users.

Some Western experts, including NSG participating government officials, have warned that in coming years, export activities by Russia and China might result in a competitive weakening of global standards related to nuclear security, safety, intellectual property protection, and transparency of management and oversight. This challenge may be overcome if decision making in member states and their industries is informed by the understanding that lack of vigilance and oversight could lead to accidents or security or proliferation events that could terminate their commercial prospects. But these risks can be mitigated only if decision making at the top levels of governments and companies is rigorously implemented in practice, including at facilities.

Participating officials also expressed the view that suppliers would not likely respond to concerns about weakening nuclear industry standards for safety or security by including in the NSG guidelines additional conditions for nuclear supply. Instead, they would seek to address nuclear safety and security challenges using specific pertinent multilateral agreements, treaties, conventions, and resolutions concerned with these issues.51

A future increase in states’ strategic nuclear trade might set back the interest of many NSG members to require an IAEA Additional Protocol.52 After a protracted internal discussion unleashed in the early 2000s in the wake of 9/11 events and revelations that Adbul Qadeer Khan had proliferated Pakistan’s sensitive uranium enrichment know-how to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, the NSG in 2011 tightened controls on enrichment and reprocessing items but stopped short of adopting the requirement that recipient states conclude and enter into force an IAEA Additional Protocol as a condition of supply for NSG-listed goods. Absent this requirement, should in the future any major supplier state export trigger-list items to non-nuclear weapon states that have not concluded an IAEA Additional Protocol, that would reduce the likelihood that NSG members in the future will agree by consensus to make the Additional Protocol a condition of these exports.

In the short term, if any of the significant suppliers in the NSG were to depart from the current consensus about what trade controls should permit, especially if that country were strongly motivated by its perceived strategic or commercial interest, the consensus rule for decision making would likely protect pre-existing and longstanding common understandings. In advance of a decision by the NSG about India’s application for membership, India attempted to import trigger-listed equipment for uranium enrichment from France; India’s request was denied on the basis that Paragraph VI of Part I of the guidelines, amended in 2011, requires the end-user be an NPT party to be eligible for the transfer. India has made known to other suppliers that if it joins the NSG, it will seek to reverse that 2011 amendment.53 A few supplier states might agree to take that step, but for Paragraph VI to be revised, all 48 participating governments would have to agree—an unlikely outcome.

Should in coming years the fortunes of the global nuclear industry decline, the NSG may be increasingly challenged by participants’ loss of nuclear knowledge. This could over time translate into a shift in the group’s participation from more technology-informed to more political or diplomatic personnel, a development that might encourage participants to increasingly focus on non-technical issues and engage in politicized debate that is counterproductive to the routine work of the group. Some participating officials report that this trend has for some years been underway elsewhere in multilateral nuclear governance, for example at the IAEA’s Board of Governors and its General Conference. Should this trend become generalized, future politicization of the NSG may penetrate into internal decision making about the contents of control lists. If so, individual suppliers might claim that proposals by other members to include specific items on the lists are a cover for their strategic adversaries' efforts to sanction their industries or the industries of their allies.

Possible Future NSG Actions

The NSG might undertake both short-term and longer-term approaches in response to challenges from an increasing strategic politicization of the nuclear trade regime. In the short term, the NSG could strengthen or enlarge the activities of a Technology Review process that was set up several years ago by the then-Chairman of the Consultative Group, the NSG’s standing body concerned with the control lists and technical annexes, and by a former NSG Chairwoman, to intensify and focus internal discussion on nuclear technology-related questions and issues pertaining to the NSG control lists and guidelines.54

Shortly after the NSG was established, protracted debate broke out among supplier states concerning the proliferation risks associated with sensitive nuclear fuel cycle technologies. This did not directly involve the NSG but pitted the United States against most other NSG original participants and especially France, Germany, Japan, and Russia. The NSG was spared having to devote resources to consider fundamental questions about the application of sensitive fuel cycle technology when, upon a proposal from the U.S., suppliers and other IAEA Member States launched the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE), a forum that deliberated, analyzed, and reported on nuclear fuel cycle issues from 1977 through 1980. The project involved over 700 officials from government and industry, held 134 meetings, and compiled 25,000 pages of supporting documents that were provided to IAEA member states to guide their nuclear fuel cycle policymaking.55 Particularly if China and Russia go forward successfully with ambitious plans to deploy industrial-scale fast reactors and related fuel processing installations beginning in the 2020s, it may be beneficial for NSG participating countries to organize a fresh discussion of the future of the nuclear fuel cycle; if so, the matter should as in the case of INFCE be delegated by governments to a multilateral forum quite apart from the confines of nuclear trade controls and the NSG's activities.

Ultimately, and in the still longer term, a thoroughgoing reorganization of the NSG and the nuclear trade regime may have to be considered, especially if global nuclear trade continues to evolve away from simple point-to-point commercial actions and instead toward transactions that involve multiple participants and transit destinations, and involve complex partnerships, legal liability obligations, intellectual property arrangements, brokering, and financing. A redesign of the regime may also be desirable or necessary should increasingly more states become suppliers and seek to participate in the NSG. Based on the record of the past decade, in the future most new membership candidates will likely be countries with little nuclear industry experience. The NSG may also continue to encourage participation by uranium producers with little or no nuclear technology knowledge, and in the future it may also admit still other states transshipping items.

Should the membership in this way continue to significantly expand, it will not be possible for the NSG to effectively operate under today’s consensus rule. If not, and should no new understanding among participants be reached for effective decision making, lack of consensus may favor powerful supplier states taking unilateral decisions including about the interpretation of the NSG guidelines, especially if they are motivated by national strategic objectives. It can be anticipated that if politicization of decision making in the group increases to the point that consensus-finding becomes severely hampered, some participants will likely advocate introducing more formal and even legally-binding attributes such as a permanent secretariat and/or a treaty structure, independent of whether such changes would considerably contribute to reducing strategic behavior of individual suppliers, and regardless of likely severe political challenges encountered by suppliers in negotiating a universal treaty concerning nuclear trade.

This article was originally published in Strategic Trade Review

1.  John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, China Builds the Bomb (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), pp. 41-44, 219-225.
2.  Mark Hibbs, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), p. 6.
3.  Personal communication from former U.S. NSG participant official, Washington, D.C., September 2017.
4. Personal communication from Soviet official, Moscow, March 1994; See also Kurt M. Campbell, Soviet Policy Towards South Africa (Houndmills, Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan, 1986), pp. 130-131.
5. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Council "Memorandum for the President: Objections to Including Brazil in the London Nuclear Suppliers Group," March 14, 1977 [declassified November 20,2013; NLC-7-32-1-1-7].
6. Personal communications from U.S. and Soviet officials, Vienna, September 1990. Since 1974, nuclear suppliers have based nuclear export controls for items that are "especially designed or prepared" for nuclear use on a so-called "trigger list;" export of items on the list triggers IAEA safeguards in non-nuclear weapon states as defined by the informal Zangger Committee to interpret the NPT's safeguards requirements under Article III.2. Thereafter, the NSG developed an expanded trigger list for use by its members. See "Multilateral Nuclear Export Control Regimes," U.S. Department of State, December 17, 1996, <https://1997-2001.state.gov/global/arms/factsheets/exptcon/nuexpcnt.html>.
7.  Under the NPT, states that had detonated a nuclear explosive device prior to January 1, 1967, namely China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are defined as nuclear weapon states, meaning that all other parties were non-nuclear weapon states under the NPT. States in the latter category are required to place their nuclear activities under IAEA inspections to ensure they are not being used for the production of nuclear weapons.
8.  The NSG's "Guidelines for Nuclear Transfers" in Paragraph 4(c) specifies that the full-scope safeguards requirement "does not apply to agreements or contracts drawn up prior to April 3, 1992. In case of countries that have adhered or will adhere to INFCIRC/254/Rev. 1/Part 1 later than April 3, 1992, the policy only applies to agreements (to be) drawn up after their date of adherence." See "Guidelines," Nuclear Suppliers Group, <http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/en/guidelines>.
9.  Mark Hibbs, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), pp. 8-10.
10.  This exception if found in Paragraph 4(b) of INFCIRC/254/Part1. See "INFCIRC/254/Rev.13/Part1A," IAEA Information Circular, November 8, 2016, <https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/documents/infcircs/1978/infcirc254r13p1.pdf>.
11.  Mark Hibbs, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), p. 10.
12.  The reluctance to use a criteria-based approach to grant exceptions to the full-scope safeguards rule may have been the result of concerns that this would have enabled other states embargoed under the rule, namely Israel and Pakistan, to establish compliance with the standards and demand an exemption like the one India had obtained.
13.  Mark Hibbs, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), p. 10.
14.  Ibid. Given that China and India are rivals for influence and engaged in a nuclear deterrence relationship—and that the U.S. obtaining the exception for New Delhi would further cement relations in order to counter Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the region—China’s acquiescence in granting the NSG exception to New Delhi may be seen as somewhat surprising, as China could have instead blocked consensus within the group. Given its interest in selling additional reactors to Pakistan, however, it is possible that China believed that tolerating exception from the full-safeguards rule for India would demonstrate that the rule was no longer sacrosanct and also mute opposition to China’s strategic transfers of nuclear items to Islamabad.
15.  Ibid.
16.  "China's Top Nuclear Firms to Form JV to Export Hualong Reactor—State Media," Reuters, October 22,2015, <https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-china-nuclear/chinas-top-nuclear-firms-to-form-jv-to-export-hualong-reactor-state-media-idUKKCN0SG16220151022>.
17.  Liu Siwei and Rajesh Rajagopolan, "Sizing up the Nuclear Suppliers Group," in Lora Saalman, ed., The China-India Nuclear Crossroads (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2012), p. 143.
18.  The unusually transparent and public nature of China’s view concerning India’s candidacy for NSG membership during the second half of 2016 led some participants to speculate whether Chinese diplomats managing this issue for the Chinese government may have been expressing views that departed from instructions from Beijing. They however confirmed that Chinese statement in fact represented Beijing's official position.
19.  Personal communications from Chinese government officials, January 2015.
20.  "China Blow to India's Nuclear Suppliers Group Hopes," BBC News, June 24, 2016. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36620949>.
21.  Personal communications from NSG participating government official, September 2017.
22. Mark Hibbs, "India's Rationales for NSG Membership," forthcoming article in The Nonproliferation Review, January 2018.
23.  "Nuclear Power in China," World Nuclear Organization, October 2017, <http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx>.
24.  "Nuclear Power in Russia," World Nuclear Organization, November 2017, <http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-o-s/russia-nuclear-power.aspx>.
25.  Personal communications from NSG participating government official, Vienna, June 2016 and September 2017.
26.  Personal communications from NSG participants, Vienna, June 2016 and September 2017. See also G. Kimball, "NSG Membership Proposal Would Undermined Nonproliferation." Arms Control Association (Blog), December 21, 2016. <https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/ArmsControlNow/2016-12-21/NSG-Membership-ProposalWould-Undermine-Nonproliferation>.
27.  Personal communication, July 2016.
28.  Bhaskar Balakrishnan, "Policy Challenges for Nuclear Power," The Hindu, September 10, 2008.    
29.  Sanjoy Hazarika, "French Sign an Accord with India to Fuel U.S.-Built Nuclear Plant," The New York Times, November 28, 1982; T.S. Subramanan, "Tarapur Now has Fuel for Many Years," The Hindu, March 30, 2006, <http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tarapur-now-has-fuel-for-many-years/article3171427.ece>.
30.  Lucy Hornby, "China Seeks United Front in Reactor Export Push," Financial Times, April 27, 2015, <https://www.ft.com/content/017c9a88-e8c2-11e4-b7e8-00144feab7de>.
31.  Mark Hibbs, The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011), p. 17.
32.  Pankaj Dovall, Nuclear Plant Deal with Bankrupt Westinghouse to be Reworked, Times of India, June 29, 2017, <https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/20-billion-nuclear-plant-deal-with-bankrupt-westinghouse-to-be-reworked/articleshow/59360881.cms>.
33.  "EDF Signs Preliminary Deal to Build Six Nuclear Plants in India," Reuters, January 26, 2016, <https://in.reuters.com/article/edf-india-nuclear/edf-signs-preliminary-deal-to-build-six-nuclear-plants-in-india-idINKCN0V41Q0>.
34.  "South Korea Keen on Setting Up Nuclear Power Plant in India," The Hindu, May 13, 2016, <http:// www.thehindu.com/news/national/south-korea-keen-on-setting-up-nuclear-power-plant-in-india/ article5570162.ece>.
35.  Dipanijan Roy Chaudhury, "All Approvals in Place, Japan Nuclear Deal Comes into Force," Economic Times, July 21, 2017 <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/all-approvals-inplace-japan-nuclear-deal-comes-into-force/articleshow/59690053.cms>.
36 Eoin Blackwell, "No Barriers Left for Uranium Sales to India," Huffington Post, July 15, 2016, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/12/19/australias-nuclear-deal-with-india_n_8824564.html>.
37.  Jeff M. Smith, "Assessing U.S.-Indian Relations: The Strategic Handshake," The Diplomat, September 16, 2016, <https://thediplomat.com/2016/09/assessing-us-india-relations-the-strategic-handshake/>.
38.  Gretchen M. Bartlett, "Carter Urges Congress to Consider Benefits of U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement," Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, <https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/belfer-centers -ashton-carter-xenia-dormandy-comment-india-nuclear-deal>.
39.  See, for example, Hubbs, "Turkey, the Nonproliferation Treaty, and the Nuclear Supplies Group," in George Perkovich, Sinan Ulgen, eds., Turkey’s Nuclear Future (Washington, D.C: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2015), pp. 143-145. Turkey was admitted into the NSG in tandem with Ankara having resolved conflict with the U.S. over Turkish firms' contribution to the Khan network's uranium enrichment proliferation activities.
40.  Henry Fountain and John Schwartz, "Scientists Bristle at Trump's Budget Cuts to Research," New York Times, March 16, 2017.  <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/climate/trump-budget-science-research. html>.
41. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, S/RES/1540, New York, April 2004.
42.  Rafael Mariano Grossi, "Export Control Regime," in Luciano Maiani et al. ed. International Cooperation and Enhancing Nuclear Safety, Security, Safeguards, and Nonproliferation; Proceedings of the XIX Edoardo Amaldi Conference, Accademia Nazionale dei Linceii, Rome, Italy, March 30-31, 2015 (New York, Springer, 2016), p.
43. Personal communication from NPT participating official, New York, September 2017.
44.  Johanna Jacobsson and Marikki Stocchetti, "The WTO Under Pressure: Tackling the Deadlock in Multilateral Trade," FIIA Briefing Paper 142, Finnish Institute for International Affairs, November 2013, pp. 5-9.
45.  Personal communication from a U.S. strategic trade control official, Washington, October 2017.
46. Leonard S. Spector, "Russian Exports of Sensitive Equipment and Technology," Testimony of the Deputy Director, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute for International Studies, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs; Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services, Washington, D.C., June 6, 2002.
47.  "How Effective is the MTCR?," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 12, 2001, <http://carnegieendowment.org/2001/04/12/how-effective-is-mtcr-pub-672>.
48.  I sincerely thank Dr. Mette Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, Senior Lecturer in International Studies, Cambridge University, for her contribution to insights in this paper and during consultations concerning the functioning and decision making in export control regimes outside the nuclear sphere, including during a Carnegie Endowment-led workshop for NSG participating governments which I chaired in Vienna, Austria in January 2016.
49.  These include export by France of the Storm Shadow cruise missile to the United Arab Emirates; allegations of export of these missiles by the UK to Saudi Arabia; and planned exports of the Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missile to several possible destinations in the aftermath of India’s membership in the MTCR. There are also questions about authorizations by the United States of long range missile systems to both Taiwan and the Republic of Korea. See Jeffrey Lewis, "Storm Shadow, Saudi and the MTCR," Arms Control Wonk, May 31, 2011, <http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/204051/saudi-arabia-storm-shadow-the-mtcr/>; Manu Pubby, "With MTCR Done, India to Test Extended Range Brahmos Next Month," Economic Times, February 15, 2017.
50.  Ibid.
51.  Personal communication from NPT participating government officials, Vienna, September 2017.
52.   The Additional Protocol is a legal instrument that, if agreed to voluntarily by a state, affords the IAEA greater authority to verify the peaceful use of materials in that state. See INFCIRC/540, IAEA, <https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/infcirc540c.pdf>. While many NSG members favor requiring a recipient state to have concluded an Additional Protocol as a condition for nuclear trade, that is not required by the NSG guidelines. In 2011, the NSG members stopped short of requiring an Additional Protocol for recipients of sensitive exports related to nuclear fuel reprocessing and uranium enrichment. See Mark Hibbs, "New Global Rules for Sensitive Nuclear Trade," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, July 28, 2011, <http://carnegieendowment.org/2011/07/28/new-global-rules-for-sensitive-nuclear-tradepub-45203>.
53.  Personal communication from NSG participating government and other government officials, Vienna, June and August 2017.
54.  INFCIRC/539/Rev.6: The NSG: Its Origins, Role, and Activities," IAEA, January 22, 2015, <https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/infcirc539r6.pdf>.
55.  Philip Gummitt, "From NPT to INFCE: Developments in Thinking about Nuclear Nonproliferation, International Affairs, 57:4 (October 1981), pp. 549-552, 560.