That was fast.
Just days after defense research group IHS revealed that India is covertly expanding a uranium enrichment plant capable of developing nuclear weapons to keep pace with neighbors China and Pakistan, a 48-nation body that controls nuclear exports said it will discuss closer ties to India, one of four United Nations members not signed onto the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
According to draft agenda Reuters obtained, the annual meeting will occur Thursday and Friday in Buenos Aires.
The three nations have been expanding their nuclear arsenals this year, according to a report released last week by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
A few world powers including the U.S. and the U.K. have argued that India should join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, created in 1975 to guard civilian atomic trade from militaries. Other countries have expressed concern about accepting a state that has built up a nuclear arsenal outside the U.N. treaty established four decades ago.
On Monday, India announced it was ratifying an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to expand oversight of its civilian nuclear program, a move that signals newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to establish positive trade ties to the U.S. ahead of a September meeting with President Obama in Washington.
India’s new agreement is a weaker version of the deal most IAEA members have, according to U.S. officials. Daryl Kimball of the U.S.-based Arms Control Association, a research and advocacy group, called the Indian version of the deal a “paper tiger,” Reuters reported.
The U.S. State Department has for years tried to “bring India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream.”
The U.S. signed a nuclear supply deal with India in 2008, though China and others resisted it because India remained outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The cooperation deal gave India access to nuclear technology and fuel.