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`More countries want criteria to admit non-NPT nations in NSG`

By Our Staff Reporter 2018-08-01
ISLAMABAD: More countries are supporting the demand for developing criteria for admitting nonNuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) countries in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a think tank said on Tuesday.

Local think tank, Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) attributed the growing support for development of criteria to the government`s pro-active diplomacy. It also called on the government to step up efforts for meeting any criteria that may eventually be agreed on for membership of nonNPT states.

The SVI recommendations were based on an in-house roundtable discussion that was attended by diplomats, experts and academia, a statement issued by the think tank said.

SVI President 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 generat-ing a viable international support for its membership of the NSG`.

The stalemate on the admission of new members, particularly non-NPT states, continued at the 28th Plenary Meeting of the NSG held in Jurmala, Latvia, on June 14 and 15, this year, SVI said. The public statement issued after the meeting had said: `Discussions were continuing on the requests for participation that had been submitted` Speaking at the in-house roundtable, Arms Control and Disarmament Division of the Foreign Office Director General Kamran Akhtar 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 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 India expand its nuclear programme.

He emphasised on a pro-activeapproach 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 the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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 China`s 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 an NSG member as long as Pakistan is not accepted as a member,` he stressed.