The independent resource on global security

Integrating Without Quite Breaking the Rules: The EU and India's Acceptance within the Non-proliferation Regime

Non-proliferation Paper No. 43

Non-proliferation Paper No. 43

Publisher: SIPRI
February, 2015

As a result of significant policy changes, India has begun in recent years to advocate its increasing integration into the existing nuclear non-proliferation regime as a nuclearweapon state, thus challenging fundamental regime rules. As a consequence, India has turned into a serious test case for the European Union (EU) and the credibility of its emerging non-proliferation policy based on the promotion and strengthening of the non-proliferation regime. In essence, the EU is faced with a normative dilemma in the implementation of its policy of ‘effective multilateralism’: between adhering to the non-proliferation rules set out by EU member states in 2003 and reinforced in 2008, and the need to integrate a dissatisfied emerging power within multilateral structures.

This paper argues that the record so far demonstrates the potential to establish a pragmatic common European line, which would strengthen the European position in the dialogues and negotiations with India on nuclear matters. More specifically, EU member states should recognize that the nuclear non-proliferation regime could be made more effective by including India, but only on the condition that it strengthens its commitment to elements of the regime that also impose significant costs, in particular the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.


Benjamin Kienzle is a Lecturer in Defence Studies and an Associate Researcher at the Centre for Science and Security Studies, King’s College London.