With India garnering major global support for its membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Pakistan has now stepped forward and formally asked the United States administration and Congress to support its application for joining the NSG.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama formally endorsed India’s application to join the group.
According to Dawn, Pakistan submitted a formal application in Vienna last month, expressing its desire to join the group But the US did not yield to Islamabad’s demands.
In a letter to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Pakistan’s Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani reminded Congress that Pakistan had taken a series of steps that qualify it for joining the NSG.
“Pakistan’s desire to participate in the NSG stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety. Pakistan has operated secure and safeguarded nuclear power plants for over 42 years. Safe and sustainable civil nuclear energy is essential for Pakistan’s future energy security and its economic development,” he said.
The letter emphasized on Pakistan’s willingness to accept the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all foreign supplied nuclear reactors and nuclear materials similar to the current IAEA safeguards in place on all of Pakistan’s civilian nuclear facilities.
“Pakistan has consistently maintained that criteria-based, non-discriminatory approach, which treats both Pakistan and India equally, while also simultaneously binding them to appropriate non-proliferation commitments, will not only strengthen the non-proliferation regime but also promote strategic stability in South Asia,” the letter read.
The letter also warned that publicly available reports on “significant upcoming fissile material facilities and build up of unsafeguarded weapon-usable fissile material in Pakistan’s neighbourhood raise larger security and stability concerns for the region.”
The US is not only supporting India’s application but is also encouraging other countries, including China, to back the Indian move.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered unconditional support to India’s entry into the NSG but China opposes the move as it discriminates against Pakistan.
Without China’s support India cannot join the group, as all membership applications need consensus of existing members.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to the U.S. and Mexico, thanked Mexico for its positive and constructive support for India’s membership in the NSG.
The NSG is a 48-nation club dedicated to curbing nuclear arms proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that could foster nuclear weapons development.