Islamabad: Pakistan is encouraged by growing support in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for establishing criteria for membership of non-NPT countries, but are wary of "big powers" pressurising smaller countries into granting exemptions for India in the admission process, media reported on Wednesday.
"There are a lot of countries that now recognise the need for a criteria-based approach rather than granting exemptions, but pressures are still being exerted on smaller countries," Dawn quoted Kamran Akhtar, Director General of Disarmament at the Foreign Office, as saying.
"We are pretty confident that NSG countries would not go down the exemption way, but if they ultimately do so and give exemption to India, there would be serious repercussions not just for Pakistan, but also for other non-nuclear weapon states that may feel being unjustly denied their right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy," Akhtar said.
He said it was now up to NSG countries to decide if they wanted the group to be seen as being driven by political and commercial interests or else they would want non-proliferation goals to be strengthened. The official warned that strategic stability in South Asia would be undermined if Pakistani application was not treated equally with the Indian case.
"Pakistan wants to deny India space for war and create a space for peace. Its (Pakistan's) weapons are for maintaining peace in the region and for deterrence," said Khalid Banuri, Director General of Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs. Additional Secretary to Foreign Office Tasneem Aslam said the issue of membership of non-NPT countries was deeply linked to strategic stability in South Asia.
"... the NSG stands at crossroads, once again, as it considers membership for non-NPT states. An even-handed and non-discriminatory approach by the NSG at this juncture would be of far-reaching significance for strategic stability in South Asia and global non-proliferation efforts," she said and recalled, the NSG had missed in 2008 the opportunity to promote adherence to non-proliferation regime by granting waiver to India.