ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has rejected a draft proposal that, if adopted, would pave the way for India to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) but make it difficult for Islamabad to join the exclusive club of civilian nuclear trading nations.
The two-page document was prepared by former NSG chairman Rafael Mariano, who was acting on behalf of the current chairman, to end the current stalemate over Pakistan and India’s bid to join the 48-member organisation.
The proposal may open the way for India to join the NSG but it will require Pakistan to first win a separate NSG exemption to engage in civilian nuclear trade with member states.
India was given a similar exemption in 2008 and this means that if the proposal is adopted in its current form that would remove the last hurdle for New Delhi to join the NSG.
Pakistan has consistently emphasised the need for criteria based and non-discriminatory approach to admit new members, a position endorsed by China and some other NSG members.
Reacting to the latest proposal, Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that the Grossi formula was an internal document of the NSG, which had not yet been shared with Pakistan.
“We understand that the NSG countries are still discussing the document and there is no consensus on it within the NSG,” the spokesperson told reporters at his weekly briefing on Thursday. “What we have been able to gather from media reports and public commentary on the Grossi proposal, by experts like Daryll Kimbal, is that the proposal seeks to propose the 2008 NSG exemption for India as a requirement for NSG membership. This would be clearly discriminatory and would contribute nothing in terms of furthering the non-proliferation objectives of the NSG,” he added.
Zakaria insisted that Pakistan continued to stress the imperative for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of non-NPT states in a non-discriminatory manner. “Such a criteria-based approach will further the non-proliferation objective of the NSG as well as the objective of strategic stability in South Asia,” he emphasised.
Replying to a question, the spokesperson conceded that there were certain states which expressed their support for India’s membership. “However, no NSG member has opposed Pakistan’s principled position for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach. In fact, there is growing traction for Pakistan’s position,” he insisted.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2016.