Pakistan’s top Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said Islamabad’s credentials for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group are stronger than India’s if the 48-nation cartel agrees to form a uniform criteria for non-NPT states.
In an exclusive interview with DawnNews on Sunday, Aziz said Pakistan has diplomatically engaged numerous countries over the criteria-based approach for non-NPT countries.
“If the group forms such a uniform criteria, then Pakistan has stronger credentials for NSG membership than India,” the advisor said.
“Our strategy was to apply after India did, after which we would have immediately followed. We have had our application in an advance state of readiness for the past three months for this purpose,” Aziz said.
He claimed that Pakistan has gradually gathered support for the criteria-based approach.
He expressed the hope that, due to Pakistan’s efforts and its strong credentials, if India gains entry into the club, Pakistan will not be left behind.
The advisor said Pakistan has come a long way since then and that everyone has witnessed Islamabad safeguarding its nuclear assets.
“If you compare it with India, when our neighboring country conducted a nuclear test in 1974, it misused the nuclear supplies given to it for peaceful purposes, which led to the formation of NSG. After that nuclear fissile material was stolen from India, but such an instance has never occurred in Pakistan,” Aziz said.
The NSG, which was created in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974, is expected to hold its next meeting in June.
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.