NSG membership: ‘Pakistan wants unbiased, fair consideration’

Speakers caution against country-specific exemption for India.

Our Correspondent June 22, 2016
Speakers caution against country-specific exemption for India. PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan desires a fair and unbiased consideration of its application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) alongside India.

This was stated by Strategic Plans Division (SPD) Director Zahir Kazmi on Wednesday at a roundtable discussion organised here by the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) on the NSG annual meeting in Seoul.

The meeting will take up the membership cases today and tomorrow.

The discussion was attended by representatives of think tanks, academics, and retired diplomats and military officials.

Kazmi cautioned against country-specific exemption for India by the global nuclear trade cartel, which he observed was becoming “highly politicised” because of its track record of discriminatory attitude towards non-member states of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Pakistan wants simultaneous entry into the group with other non-NPT states that aspire to participate in the group. This will require a fair and simultaneous consideration of the two membership applications submitted by non-NPT states,” Kazmi said.

The director pointed out that Pakistan fulfilled all criteria for the NSG membership except for the NPT requirement, which India, too, does not meet.

Kazmi underscored that a non-discriminatory approach towards the NSG expansion would not only ensure strategic stability in South Asia, but would also serve the cause of international non-proliferation efforts.

He hoped that the NSG members would not give an impression of imposing “a technological and political apartheid” on Pakistan by denying it access to high-end technologies.

The world, Kazmi said, instead should be seen as supporting sustainable development in Pakistan.

Former permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva ambassador (retd) Zamir Akram said India was enjoying a free ride because of political and geo-strategic considerations of the US and other Western countries.

CISS Executive Director Sarwar Naqvi said that Pakistan had been engaging with the NSG since 2005, but filed a formal application for admission only after India did so.

He expected that the NSG would not immediately grant membership to the applicants, but would go for a long drawn process that could involve vetting of the credentials of the candidate countries.

“Pakistan will stand a good chance of getting a favourable consideration,” Naqvi said.

Meanwhile, chairing a session at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) on Tuesday, former permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva ambassador Zamir Akram noted that Pakistan was instead in favour of developing criteria that could be uniformly and transparently applied to all countries aspiring to become NSG members.

He observed that an “unbridled India in NSG” would increase its nuclear arsenal at a greater pace and magnitude than it did after the 2008 waiver.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2016.


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