Islamabad - Following the deadlock over entry of non-NPT states into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) at the last plenary session of the nuclear cartel, some of its members are now aiming at admission criteria that could achieve consensus.

“The debate (on expansion of NSG) is moving towards what is going to be the criteria that can be accepted by consensus at the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” said Former Permanent Representative at the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador (Retd) Zamir Akram. He was speaking at a roundtable discussion at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), an Islamabad based think tank, on ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal: Politics of NSG and its Implications for Pakistan’ here yesterday.

Ambassador (Retd) Zamir Akram said the NSG was divided between Chinese position and the US stance. China says that criteria for new members is already defined and requires the aspirant to be a NPT signatory while the US says that India being a like-minded country deserves to be included in the group. Between these two positions, there are countries that are seeking criteria other than NPT consideration for accommodating India, he added.

The plenary session of the NSG in Seoul in June failed to achieve consensus on India’s admission for being a non-NPT country. Seoul communique had said that NSG members deliberated on “Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG and decided to continue its discussion.” Ambassador Rafael Grossi was designated as the “Facilitator of the NSG Chairperson” for consultations with the member states on the issue.

The US, which is having defence and nuclear cooperation deals with India, has been the main force behind Delhi’s NSG bid.

Ambassador Akram said that Indo-US nuclear deal and the subsequent NSG waiver for India had affected the region in terms of derailing the India-Pakistan dialogue on nuclear issues; destabilizing regional security; and undermining the global non-proliferation regime. “The US acted irresponsibly without considering the long-term impact of their policies for the region,” he added. Speaking on this occasion, Strategic Plans Division official Zahir Kazmi cautioned US against supporting India’s alone entry into NSG.

“If the US continually pushes for India’s exclusive entry into the NSG, the bilateral relations with Pakistan would not be ‘business as usual. The people of Pakistan would not accept such discrimination,” he said. Pakistani position has been that it should either be simultaneous entry for both India and Pakistan or none of them.

President SVI Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that India’s alone entry into NSG would put back Pakistani efforts for developing its infrastructure and industry by decades, besides having serious consequences for national security and economic and industrial development.

He observed that the world in its obsession for India should not forget that India was one of the worst proliferators.

He called on the government to pro-actively continue diplomatic engagement with NSG members over the issue of admission of non-NPT states.

Dr Shahid Bukhari suggested that Pakistan should further develop Chinese stakes here so that Beijing’s support could be sustained.