New Delhi: More than 150 non-proliferation activists and anti-nuclear organisations across the world, including several from India, have written to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir in his capacity as chair of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to demand the proposed exemption for India from the cartel’s export rules be tightened to ensure no damage is done to the global non-proliferation regime.

The group said India’s commitments under the current terms of the proposed arrangement “do not justify making far-reaching exceptions to international non-proliferation rules and norms” and that New Delhi must be asked to stop the production of fissile material and convert its voluntary nuclear testing moratorium into a “legally binding commitment.”

Terming the proposed NSG waiver a “non-proliferation disaster,” the letter’s signatories said it would undermine the nuclear safeguards regime by allowing India to keep its military nuclear facilities out of the purview of the International Atomic Energy Agency. They also alleged that the draft NSG waiver was flawed because it would allow the transfer of “sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technology,” provide “indirect assistance to India’s nuclear weapons programme” and facilitate renewed nuclear testing by New Delhi.

In order to deal with these “flaws” in the “ill-conceived proposal to exempt India from certain NSG guidelines,” the group asked Mr. Steinmeir to push for seven specific amendments to the draft American proposal.

First, it says NSG states should establish a policy that if India resumes nuclear testing or violates its safeguards agreement with the IAEA or withdraws “civilian” facilities or materials from international safeguards, all nuclear cooperation with India involving NSG members shall be terminated and unused fuel supplies from NSG states shall be returned.

Second, the NSG should not allow the supply of any fuel other than an amount “commensurate with ordinary reactor operating requirements,” nor should it provide individually or collectively strategic or lifetime nuclear fuel reserves.

Third, the NSG “should expressly prohibit” the transfer of enrichment, reprocessing and heavy water production items to India “whether inside or outside bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements.”

Fourth, NSG states should actively oppose any special safeguards exemptions for India or any treatment “that would in any way be inconsistent with the principle of permanent and unconditional safeguards” over its civilian facilities, including indigenous ones.

Fifth, the group says the NSG waiver should be conditional on India declaring it has stopped fissile material production for weapons purposes and transforming “its nuclear test moratorium into a meaningful, legally binding commitment” as has been demanded by the U.N. Security Council in Resolution 1172 of 1998.

Sixth, the NSG should not allow India to reprocess nuclear fuel supplied by a member state in a facility that is not under permanent and unconditional IAEA safeguards, and also agree that any material produced in other facilities may not be transferred to any unsafeguarded facility.

Finally, NSG states should agree that all bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements between an NSG member-state and India explicitly prohibit the replication or use of such technology in any unsafeguarded Indian facilities.

The letter ends with an appeal to all world leaders serious about upholding the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and ending the nuclear arms race to “stand up and be counted.”

Among the signatories are American non-proliferation activists Leonard Weiss, Daryl Kimbal, Joseph Cirincione, Henry Sokolski and Frank von Hippel, the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, MIT professor Noam Chomsky, anti-nuclear campaigners Helen Caldicott, Praful Bidwai and Achin Vanaik, the former Sri Lankan diplomat Jayanta Dhanapala, and dozens of NGOs.