Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for India’s inclusion in the NSG ( Nuclear Suppliers Group) while speaking with former New York City Mayor and businessman, Michael Bloomberg, at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on Wednesday, September 25, in New York. In a question & answer session, he urged for membership in the NSG so that India’s energy security needs are fulfilled and it can accelerate towards achieving its climate change goals.
Energy Security—availability of clean and affordable energy— is essential for the eradication of poverty and to raise the standard of living. And as a large population of India is still outside the reach of clean and affordable energy, India has yet to go a very long way to fulfil its energy security objectives.
India is still more dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs, though renewable energy sources share in India’s energy basket is picking up gradually.
While answering to a question on India’s ambitious goals on climate change and its progress on climate change goals, he said that India is committed to achieving the climate change targets more than any other country, because India’s philosophy of seeing the earth as its mother propels it towards this. He also suggested that the solution to the climate change problem lies with human behaviour, and if we induce a rational response to be more sensitive towards nature, we can be out of this menace of global warming.
“I believe that only people’s behaviour can take us out of the challenge of global warming, more than the efforts of governments. We should move ahead by associating human behaviour with nature.
He even mentioned India’s progress in the use of renewable energy, as a part of its commitment to climate change. He also referred to India’s advancement in the production of renewable energy through wind and sun and apprised about its fast pace to achieve the earlier set target of generation of 175 Gigawatt—of which 120 Gigawatt has been obtained. He even set a new goal of 450 Gigawatt of renewable energy generation by 2030.
“I am happy we are way ahead of the time. We have already achieved the work of 120 Gigawatt. While I was speaking in the UN yesterday, I have set a new target of 450 Gigawatt of renewable energy,” he said answering on India’s progress in the production of renewable energy.
In the similar context of climate change, he also cited the difficulty in the access of nuclear fuel to India, for the generation of power, as an obstacle in achieving this goal. As India is not a member of NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group)—a group that controls the export of materials, equipment and technology that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons—it limits its access to nuclear materials and technology. China has been opposing India’s entry in the 48 members NSG group, citing it’s not a part of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty ( NPT)—aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy. As India has limited Uranium resources and Imported Natural Uranium is cheaper than domestically mined Uranium because of rich concentration and availability at shallow depths abroad, it restricts India in securing its energy needs as well as achieving its commitment on climate change. Besides, India’s entry into NSG is also crucial because Nuclear energy is a reliable source of green, for other causes, ie. Solar and wind are intermittent. PM Narendra Modi had even raised the NSG membership issue with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a meeting on the sidelines of G7 Summit in August 2019.
“We have the challenge of nuclear energy because we are not a member of NSG( Nuclear Suppliers Group), so we always face the issue of fuel supply. If we get a solution on that front, we can present India as a model for the world and work in this area.” Narendra Modi said.
Further, he mentioned the vast coal resources available with India—the third-largest coal reserves in the world—and underscored that India could not forgo using it given India’s energy needs, but at the same time, he also stressed the need for coal gasification and mining in a more environment-friendly manner.
Moreover, he also highlighted the importance of protecting and reviving the water resources and mentioned the project Jal Jeevan for rainwater harvesting and river management. He also called upon the restrictions on the use of single-use plastics.
Making a pitch for investment, he talked about reforms taken by the government—the introduction of GST, the bankruptcy and insolvency laws, unique ID (Aadhaar) and financial inclusion by providing access to banking services to millions of individuals—to make India investment-friendly. He invited investors across the globe to invest in infrastructure, urbanization, defence and technology.
“Your desires and our dreams match perfectly,” PM Narendra Modi told the investors.
About Nuclear Suppliers Group
NSG which came into being in 1975, when India had conducted the nuclear test—smiling Buddha— is a Multilateral export control regime and seeks to prevent the proliferation by controlling the export of nuclear materials and technology so that it can’t be used to produce atomic weapons. NSG is also known as “London Club” as its first meeting held in London on November 1975.
Though 48 members group NSG is not a formal organization and its decisions are not binding, decisions and entry in this elite group require consensus among the member countries.
Notwithstanding the support of many countries, including the US, France, Japan and Russia, China has repeatedly blocked India’s entry in this group for not being a signatory to the Non-proliferation treaty.
Membership of this exclusive NSG group is not only crucial for its commitment to climate change and India’s energy needs but also for the stability of the economy, which suffers significantly by fluctuations in oil prices.