Africa–India nuclear cooperation: pragmatism, principle, post-colonialism and the Pelindaba Treaty

06 Dec 2012

The United States India nuclear agreement, announced in 2005, was a first step in the process to normalise India’s international nuclear relations despite the fact that India is not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Africa is largely seen as a uranium supplier rather than nuclear power producer in the world nuclear order. The position that African states take towards Africa India nuclear cooperation, uranium supply to India in particular, is informed by two seemingly contrasting factors, namely economic and political pragmatism on the one hand, and non-proliferation imperatives and norms on the other. The African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty, also referred to as the Pelindaba Treaty, prohibits uranium and nuclear-related exports to states without comprehensive safeguards of their nuclear facilities, but the case of India is still open for interpretation. Africa and India’s shared post-colonial consciousness, manifesting in their historical ties, membership of the Non-Aligned Movement and South South cooperation, is often regarded as another factor facilitating Africa India nuclear relations. A more critical view points to the different notions of post-coloniality in Africa and India, resulting in different approaches to nuclear non-proliferation that constrain their nuclear relations.