15 October 2008

IBSA united front at the NSG

The Delhi Declaration of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum summit has this interesting line in its paragraph on the peaceful use of nuclear energy:
[The leaders] also reiterated the importance of ensuring that any multilateral decisions related to the nuclear fuel cycle do not undermine the inalienable right of States to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in conformity with their international legal obligations.
With the NSG due to resume discussions on tightening the rules governing international trade in enrichment and reprocessing technology and equipment next month -- and with the U.S. administration committed to working towards developing restrictions for countries like India -- this statement sounds very much like the forging of a United Front by the three IBSA partners.

India is not in the NSG but so long as South Africa and Brazil -- which are also the targets of the wider drive towards limiting ENR technology to a handful of countries -- stick to this line, the U.S. and others will find it difficult to develop a new consensus around denying India access.

I wonder if this could be the beginning of wider cooperation within IBSA on ENR for peaceful purposes? After all, Brazil has a comparative advantage in enrichment (think Resende) and India in reprocessing.