Pakistan has credentials to be considered for the membership of NSG: moot

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A roundtable discussion was held by South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) to discuss the issue of Pakistan and India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which is currently under consideration in the NSG Plenary at Seoul. The discussion was chaired by National Assembly Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman Owais Leghari.

Chairperson and DG SASSI Dr Maria Sultan while shedding light on the issue of the NSG membership of both Pakistan and India said that the issue is of extreme importance to Pakistan. She said that the 48-country informal and voluntary group came to existence because of India’s nuclear tests in 1974. She further said that Pakistan must not be left behind or India given precedence in giving membership as it will greatly cause imbalance in the fragile strategic situation of South Asia.

“The technology offered by the NSG deal is not limited to military or nuclear application but also has a huge role to play in civil usage,” she added.

Dr Sultan said that issuance of membership to India alone will be akin to ‘regional apartheid’ for Pakistan. She also highlighted the instances when nuclear related incidents happened in India.

Addl Secretary FO Tasneem Aslam while addressing at the occasion said that Pakistan has long aspired for full participation in the international export regimes so as to be able to contribute to the global non-proliferation efforts.

“Pakistan has maintained consistent engagement with the NSG since 2003. The country formally submitted its application on May 19,” she added. She also reiterated the stance of Pakistan of possessing more than 42 years of experience in safe, secure and safeguarded operations of the nuclear power plants. She concluded that to allow membership to Non-NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) states should be simultaneously applicable to all of them without discrimination.

Owais Leghari while speaking at the occasion said that India is following an expansive policy in the region. He said that it is acquiring missile technology at the expense of regional security. Leghari said that politicians regardless of party affiliations are worried about the Indian designs in the region.

During the question-answer session, while answering a question about Pakistan’s plan B in case it fails to get the membership while India succeeds in getting it, the speakers said Pakistan won’t take the matter lightly and will practice its influence with China, Turkey and other members. Answering a question about civilians and military being on the same page, Leghari said that there is 100 per cent unanimity on nuclear programme and Zarb-e-Azab between civilians and military.

The speakers said that Pakistan is a responsible state with an impeccable track record when it comes to nuclear weapons and fulfills all the requirements deemed necessary to become member of Nuclear Suppliers Group.