The Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG), one of the most critical and influential cartels promoting non-proliferation, intends to let India join it, bypassing the chronicled reality that the NSG was created against Indian nuclear weapons tests. The great powers possessing nuclear weapons have already given certain exemptions to India in terms of trading in the field of nuclear technology. However, these special exemptions are not consistent with the purported arrangements of the NSG, which do not permit a state to join unless it is party to the NPT. Although the NSG was established against the Indian atomic test, it is astonishing to note that the group’s revised guidelines of June 2013 did not name India specifically. NSG works on consensus by following the two prominent sets of its normative posture. Firstly, it is responsible for strictly following the guidelines for nuclear exports, and secondly, nuclear-related export materials. It is imperative to note that the first set of NSG guidelines deals with elements such as nuclear materials, nuclear reactors and equipment, non-nuclear materials for reactors, plants and equipment for the reprocessing, enrichment and conversion of nuclear material, and nuclear technology for each of the above nuclear export elements. While the second set of NSG guidelines mainly deals with nuclear export-related materials, such as fuel cycle and nuclear explosives meant for industrial purposes. Both of these guidelines are consistent with the provisions of internationally binding treaties in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, such as the NPT and many others. The Indo-US nuclear deal and the NSG’s nuclear exemptions to India have become a crucial issue for the NSG in terms of sustaining its credibility. This indicates that the NSG may drift away from the provisions it sets and may undermine its own guidelines Being one of the important non-proliferation groups, the NSG faces a lot of critical issues. For instance, the Indo-US nuclear deal and the NSG’s nuclear exemptions to India have become a crucial issue for the NSG in terms of sustaining its credibility. This indicates that the NSG may drift away from the provisions it sets and may undermine its own guidelines. However, there can be certain plausible options that the NSG may undertake to restore and enhance its normative posture and credibility. One such option is recognising both India and Pakistan as nuclear weapons states before they think of joining the NSG. Presumably, as India and Pakistan enhance their nuclear maturity, the NPT and NSG could eventually recognise these nuclear weapons states with the ultimate motive to strengthen the non-proliferation regime. The NSG could also expand its membership by inducting more states — which may include those states which are either party to the NPT or those who have not yet joined it. If in case India is embraced before Pakistan, it could have critical consequences for the regional arms race and increased over-reliance on nuclear weapons in South Asia. Alternatively, the NSG could relax its provisions unanimously agreeing that it could eventually pave the way for both India and Pakistan to join it. However, both would remain legitimate and responsible nuclear weapons states by following the essential parameters of the international non-proliferation regime, including that of the additional protocol of the IAEA. Furthermore, the NSG might opt to strictly stand by its provisions without showing any flexibility by not allowing both India and Pakistan to become part of the NSG unless they fully satisfy its guidelines, particularly joining the NPT. In a nutshell, this may not be favourable to the NSG since it would become too rigid, discriminatory, and limited. Plausibly, by expanding its membership and promoting the cause of non-proliferation, the NSG could enhance its credibility; and it can do so by making both India and Pakistan obligatory to the essential parameters of the non-proliferation. The writer is a Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad. He can be reached atUbaid@thesvi.org Published in Daily Times, June 22nd 2018.