'Support For Criteria-based Approach For NSG Membership Growing'

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'Support for criteria-based approach for NSG membership growing'

Strategic Vision Institute has hailed government's pro-active diplomacy for successfully advocating criteria based approach for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group and called for bolstering the country's candidature for admission into the multilateral export control regime.

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 31st Jul, 2018 ) :Strategic Vision Institute has hailed government's pro-active diplomacy for successfully advocating criteria based approach for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group and called for bolstering the country's candidature for admission into the multilateral export control regime.

The think tank, which specializes in nuclear deterrence and strategic stability issues, in a statement issued here on Tuesday underscored that Pakistan should focus on improving the narrative about its nuclear program and consider the steps that could further strengthen its NSG candidature.

SVI's recommendations were based on an in-house roundtable discussion that was attended by diplomats, experts and academia.

President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said: "The nuclear politics of NSG is a significant issue and it is important for Pakistan to find suitable policy alternatives for generating a viable international support its membership of the NSG".

It should be recalled that the stalemate on the admission of new members particularly the non-NPT states continued at the twenty-eighth Plenary Meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) held in Jurmala (Latvia) on 14 and 15 June 2018.

The public statement issued after the meeting had said: "discussions were continuing on the requests for participation that had been submitted". These deliberations on membership for non-NPT states Pakistan and India had started in 2016 at the Seoul Plenary and have continued since then without any progress. Pakistan has during this period successfully lobbied for criteria based approach, while simultaneously exposing the loopholes in the separation plan committed by India and the anomalies in its safeguards agreement.

Speaking at the in-house roundtable, Kamran Akhtar, director general at the Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Foreign Office, said: "The support for this (criteria based approach) is growing and a good number of countries are now calling for developing criteria for admitting non-NPT states".

He further pointed out that several international studies had also corroborated Pakistan's long held position that any exemption for India could undermine the regional strategic stability by helping it (India) expand its nuclear program.

He emphasized a pro-active approach for bolstering Pakistan's case.

Participants of the discussion dwelt on the various measures Pakistan could take to meet a criteria that could be eventually developed. The suggestions included separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities, and signing the additional protocol with IAEA.

Ambassador Zamir Akram, who formerly represented Pakistan at the Conference on Disarmament, said he does not see a consensus emerging at the NSG on membership of non-NPT countries in the near future.

He questioned the concerns about any impending change in Chinese position at NSG. China, it should be remembered, has been insisting on NPT requirement for admitting new members into NSG.

"China will not change its position and it will not accept India as a NSG member as long as Pakistan is not accepted as a member," he stressed.

Ambassador Akram said it was satisfying to note that Pakistan did not commit the mistake it didin 2008. Pakistan back in 2008 did not block country specific safeguards agreement for India at IAEAon the basis of which it was able to secure exemptions from NSG.