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Move for ban on N-test meant to stop arms race: FO

By Our Staff Reporter 2016-08-17
ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Tuesday that Pakistan`s proposal to India for bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing is aimed at preventing arms race in the region and strengthening non-proliferation credentials of countries that are not NPT signatories.

`Pakistan has indicated the possibility that the two countries may consider a bilateral arrangement, which is reflective of its policy of promoting restraint and responsibility in South Asia and its consistent support for the objectives of the CTBT, FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria said in a statement a day after the foreign secretary invited his Indian counterpart for talks on the Kashmir dispute.

Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had last week offered India a bilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.

The offer had come ahead of another expected push by backers of Indian candidature for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to get India into the nuclear trade cartel.

Pakistan too is a candidate for the membership ofthe group.

`Bilateral arrangement on non-testing will also send a positive signal to the Nuclear Supplier Group countries which are discussing the nonproliferation commitments of non-NPT states in relation to the question of membership, Mr Zakaria said.

Both Pakistan and India are non-NPT states.

The NSG had failed to achieve consensus on Indian application at its last plenary in Seoul as some members insisted on adhering to the NPT criteria for new membership.

India is not expected to respond positively to the Pakistani proposal. It has not accepted an earlier Pakistani proposal for Strategic Restraint Regime. The offer initially made in Oct 1998 was renewed this year by the National Command Authority (NCA).

The NCA had at its meeting in February reiterated Pakistan`s desire for establishing the Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia.

`Once again, in the larger interest of peace and stability in the region, as also in the global context, Pakistan has offered the bilateral arrangement,` the FO spokesman said.