Pakistan on Wednesday said leaders of Russia, New Zealand and South Korea had backed a “non-discriminatory approach” for expanding the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by including non-NPT states.
As part of efforts to mobilise support for Pakistan’s application for membership of the nuclear trading club, Pakistan’s foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz has telephoned the foreign ministers of Russia, New Zealand and South Korea.
Pakistan has stepped up efforts to gain entry to the NSG since India recently submitted its application to the elite 48-nation bloc. Islamabad’s close ally Beijing has linked India’s entry to that of Pakistan. Aziz told the Senate that Pakistan is lobbying “effectively and pro-actively” with NSG members over India’s efforts to join the group. He said these “efforts towards non-discriminatory approach will pay off”.
Aziz highlighted to the foreign ministers of the three countries “Pakistan’s credentials for the NSG membership”. A statement issued by the Foreign Office said Aziz’s “interlocutors expressed support for a non-discriminatory approach on NSG expansion to non-NPT states”.
Pakistan also asked NSG members to be “objective and non-discriminatory” while deciding on expanding the group’s membership. The Foreign Office said in a separate statement additional foreign secretary Tasnim Aslam briefed diplomats of NSG states ahead of the group’s plenary session in Vienna this month.
Aslam highlighted factors in support of Pakistan’s application, including its technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to non-proliferation and nuclear security. She cautioned against “any country-specific exemptions which would negatively impact strategic stability in South Asia”.
He was responding to concerns expressed by senators over the “growing collusion between India and the US” and apprehension that NSG members would positively consider India’s request to join it.