|NSG membership for both India and Pakistan or neither!|
The membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is critical for Pakistan to secure its defense, energy and economic goals. It has submitted its adherence to the NSG guidelines and has applied formally for its membership on 19 May 2016 but it will not associate NSG membership with talks on FMCT.
Pakistan’s standpoint on nuclear non-proliferation regime is based on principles and fair play, however, unfortunately, in the contemporary global order what matters most are economic interests and political considerations. It must be ensured that NSG membership is either offered to both India or Pakistan or none of the two; because if India continues to enjoy the discrimination against Pakistan and is allowed the membership then it could have disastrous consequences as Pakistan may be left with little or no incentive to remain constructively engaged with and committed for global non-proliferation regime in case of a discriminatory decision vis-à-vis NSG membership.
These thoughts prevailed in a roundtable titled “NSG, India and Pakistan” organized by Institute of Policy Studies on June 2, 2016. It was addressed by Dr. Adil Sultan, Director, Research and Analysis (PDS Branch), Strategic Plans Division (SPD) as the main speaker while Ambassador Tariq Osman Hyder, former member of the Oversight Board for Strategic Export Control, was in chair. A number of defense analysts, members of the diplomatic community and intelligentsia in the capital, former ambassadors, and researchers attended the program such as Ambassador (r) Zamir Akram, Ambassador (r) Asif Ezdi, Brigadier (r) Said Nazir and Barrister Sadia Abbasi.
Dr Sultan, in his presentation, reminded the audience that since the conclusion of the India-US nuclear cooperation agreement and the India-specific NSG exemption of 2008, Pakistan has been voicing concerns over discriminatory treatment.
“Our aspiration to become NSG member is based on: the desire to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime; the need for strategic stability and level playing field in South Asia; and priority for socio economic development and technological advancement of the country,” he said.
Highlighting the credentials for Pakistan’s NSG membership, he elaborated that all of Pakistan’s civilian nuclear facilities are under IAEA safeguards in perpetuity. Pakistan has never violated its peaceful uses obligations in relation to items and materials transferred to it internationally and voluntarily continued its IAEA safeguards on KANUPP despite the termination of its bilateral agreement with the supplier. Pakistan has established an effective export control regime, supported by strong national legislation and credible legal enforcement mechanisms.
He urged that NSG should consider membership for non-NPT states on the basis of non-discriminatory and objective criteria; and hoped that political expediency or commercial interests will not override non-proliferation objectives, once again.
Ambassador Hyder in his concluding remarks said that for Pakistan the guiding principle is that the objectives of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction can be effectively promoted through freely negotiated, non-discriminatory and cooperative multilateral efforts. Pakistan stands ready to contribute constructively to all efforts that strengthen global non-proliferation within the framework of existing treaty regimes and bodies, and as a partner in the control regimes which should also adopt a non-discriminatory approach and not that of exceptionalism motivated by strategic and commercial interests.