Pakistan steps up efforts towards joining NSG club

Pakistan intensified campaign for joining Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) club, as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Wednesday spoke to his counterparts from some of the group’s members to seek their support for the country’s application to join the nuclear trading nations.

According to Foreign Office spokesperson Nafess Zakaria, as part of Pakistan’s continuing diplomatic efforts towards mobilising support for Pakistan’s application for the membership of NSG, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs spoke over telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

While on Wednesday, the Adviser also contacted, over phone, Foreign Ministers of New Zealand Murray McCully and Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se to highlight Pakistan’s credentials for the NSG membership with a view to seeking their support.

“His interlocutors expressed support for a non-discriminatory approach on NSG expansion to non-NPT states,” the spokesperson added.

Additional Foreign Secretary (United Nations and Economic Coordination), Ambassador Tasnim Aslam, as a part of the ongoing diplomatic efforts towards mobilising support for Pakistan’s membership of NSG, also held a briefing session on Wednesday for the NSG countries’ diplomatic missions here in Islamabad.

The Foreign Office spokesperson said that the briefing was attended by a large number of ambassadors and other senior level representatives.

The additional secretary highlighted the factors which placed Pakistan’s application for NSG membership on solid grounds, including Pakistan’s technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to non-proliferation and nuclear safety and security.

While urging NSG countries to adopt objective and non-discriminatory criteria for the membership of non-NPT states, she cautioned against any country-specific exemptions which would negatively impact strategic stability in South Asia.

Pakistan on May 19, 2016 made a formal application to join the 48-nation trading nuclear club.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of NSG, the Ambassador of Pakistan in Vienna, stated that the decision to seek participation in the export control regime reflects Pakistan’s strong support for international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

The latest effort comes at a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Washington for crucial bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama.

Indian media while quoting a senior Obama administration official as having said that “It is the strong objective of the Obama administration,” to have India voted as a member of NSG at this year’s plenary which will be taking place in the last week of this month in South Korea.

Adviser to the Prime Minster on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is also scheduled to address an important news conference today (Thursday) to reiterate Pakistan’s quest for joining the NSG club and stress the need for NSG to adopt a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach for NSG membership of the countries, which have never been party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). –Business Recorder