ASIAOPINIONPOLITICS

NSG’s Consultative Group and need for evolving new process

By Beenish Altaf

India’s application could not acknowledge a confirmatory response from a few members of the Group, yet it leaves the impression that New Delhi is determined for the full membership of NSG. Like the Seoul plenary meeting of June 23-24, 2016 failed to reach a consensus in 48 members of NSG cartel, the recent consultative group’s meeting also could not reach to any consensus with regards to India’s bit for NSG.

It is evident that both India and Pakistan are consistently encountering tough resistance in getting the membership of NSG in the near future. Many members of the Group seem determined to thwart non-NPT members attempt to join the Group without a criteria-based approach. Nevertheless, New Delhi has robustly been lobbying with the intense support of Washington and its like-minded countries since 2010 to get a ‘special treatment’ by the NSG members. Simultaneously, Islamabad is equally determined to join the NSG.

Even though Pakistan wishes to be included in the NSG cartel on the basis of merit, it also wants to draw attention to the issue of discrimination in the group’s membership. India is being treated on favorable terms, with laws amended and waivers granted to accommodate it. This despite the fact that India’s diversion of nuclear material and equipment for the so-called peaceful explosion of 1974 was the prime reason behind the creation of the NSG. It was created to prevent the diversion of nuclear material from civilian trade to military purposes, with seven suppliers of advanced nuclear technology, i.e. United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan, West Germany, and Soviet Union, getting together to form a cartel to control nuclear technology supplied for peaceful uses. India violated its obligations with Canada, diverting plutonium from the Canadian-Indian reactor that was being run by U.S. heavy-water, which was provided purely for peaceful purposes.

In view of the strong opposition from several countries, it is likely that both India and Pakistan may not be accepted into the NSG in the immediate future. However, if the United States once again coerces the NSG participating governments, as it did in 2008, Pakistan would not have any choice but to review its engagement with the international nonproliferation regime, which is increasingly becoming a tool to serve only the interests of major powers;

The other option for Pakistan could be to start a diplomatic campaign to convince the NSG members of its needs and capabilities, and simultaneously highlight India’s non-adherence of the promises made as part of the nuclear deal with the United States; Pakistan should continue nuclear cooperation with China, while also focusing on economic development to attract other nuclear vendors to explore commercial benefits in the country.

Pakistan has two time-slots that should be capitalized. First is the time slot till the next plenary meeting of NSG; this time should be capitalized in promoting Pakistan’s perspective regarding NSG membership through proactive diplomatic and political representation across the 48 NSG nations. Second window of opportunity comes in the backdrop of slow-pace developments in Indo-US nuclear cooperation, Pakistan has sufficient time to strengthen its politico-economic engagement with the rest of the world in general and with China in particular till the India-US nuclear deal gets materialized.

However, Pakistan needs to adopt ‘Proactive Diplomacy’ rather than ‘Reactive Diplomacy’. after the current NSG’s consultative Group meeting it is evident that India is not going to make in it even at this time. Because on countries stances, most of the country stances are same, yes Russia will review its stance again. China is standing on the same note. In addition to, 17 countries said further discussions are required on the subject whereas 12 called for immediate membership to India but no consensus yet. But obviously there should be criteria based approach for non-NPT members so that India and Pakistan get same treatment from the international community.

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Beenish Altaf

Beenish Altaf works as Research Associate for Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad and can be reached at beenishaltaf7@gmail.com

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