Politics Of Nuclear Supplier Group: Pakistan’s Options – OpEd


The politics of Nuclear Supplier Group has proved that international system works never works on moral values and merits; it is based on interests of states. NSG has gained attention of global community when India and Pakistan has applied for membership of nuclear cartel. India and Pakistan are determined to join NSG to acquire new kind of high-tech nuclear related technologies.

The Nuclear Supplier Group is a body of the 48 states, aims to export nuclear-related material for peaceful purpose and prohibit the Nuclear Proliferation for military use. India and Pakistan have applied to get the membership of NSG for two reasons. First, inclusion would help them to become a part of International arena, where norms of nuclear commerce will provide access to sophisticated foreign nuclear technologies. Second, through membership of the group both states would be recognized as a responsible nuclear state.

The United States and several other countries are supporting for NSG membership. Although many states are supporting Indian NSG membership bid but few states, such as China and certain European states, are against this idea. These states are demanding non-discriminatory and criteria based approach. Under the NSG guidelines, a non-NPT state cannot get the membership of the group. This aspect has turned the India the NSG bids into a difficult task despite of many efforts. China and other European states have concerns that considering India, which is not party to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), will deteriorate both the group and nonproliferation regime.

It is proved that NSG membership of India and Pakistan revolves around the major power politics. India has been granted the status of special waiver whereas Pakistan is facing discriminatory attitude of major powers. The most ironic aspect of this issue is that NSG was established in response of India’s nuclear explosion to stop nuclear proliferation and now its entry is being strongly supported by major powers of the group. Additionally, other initatives such as Grossi’s proposal to support India’s NSG bid has clearly defined the global power’s politics. Therefore, NSG politics are shaping up to be perilous for nuclear diplomacy because irony of the issue is that NSG was established after NPT failed to hamper India from conducting nuclear explosion.

The International community should follow principle approach and treat the nuclear status of India-Pakistan equally. However, India is enjoying the exceptional treatment from various countries of the group while leaving Pakistan on disadvantage. It is imperative to understand that granting membership to India and not Pakistan would disturb the strategic stability and inject the never ending nuclear arms race in the region. So to secure the membership of nuclear cartel and develop the favorable criteria, Pakistan needs to take multiple measures. These measures are following:

Pakistan needs to adopt more proactive foreign policy and diplomacy to cater the support for Pakistan’s bid in nuclear group. Though China’s official stance support the Pakistan’s candidature but it is important for Pakistan to maintain its resilience and sustainability in its strategy regarding membership of nuclear cartel. In this regard Pakistan should start a diplomatic campaign to convince the other NSG members of its needs and capabilities.

Economic engagement and need to project itself as a great economic incentive for other states.
Thus Pakistan should sign agreement for civil nuclear cooperation with other states, while focusing on economic progress to attract other nuclear vendors to discover commercial advantages in the country.

In the future, U.S. and India will increased their efforts to convince member states including china to support India’s membership application without considering the impact of such policies on South Asian strategic stability and global efforts of Non-proliferation. Accordingly, knowing India’s vigorous efforts to disturb the Balance of power in region, it is necessary for Pakistan to take measures to enhance its capabilities in order to ensure that strategic stability and regional security.

Thus, NSG politics shows the United States discriminatory approach to support India’s membership is deeply rooted in its own geostrategic and geo-economics interests. The membership of NSG is significant for Pakistan, but standing against the discrimination is imperative. As well as, the discriminatory approach of NSG member states has significant implications for the credibility of the nuclear cartel and its ability to support non-proliferation norms and international security. To conclude, Pakistan should remember that global politics are based on interest and there are no permanent friends in global politics. So Instead of relying only on China, Pakistan’s policy makers should approach other NSG states to seek support for membership of nuclear cartel.

*Asma Khalid, The writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected]

One thought on “Politics Of Nuclear Supplier Group: Pakistan’s Options – OpEd

  • November 28, 2017 at 2:15 am

    how about the proliferation track record so proudly listed by Brig Gen Feroz Khan in his book ‘eating grass’?. so pakistan openly acknowledges proliferation and then has the unmitigated gall and chutzpah to ask for NSG membership? realpolitik has not lost common sense to that point, yet..

    there is no ‘strategic stability’ between India and Pakistan, unless the definition has been changed to include ‘nuclear blackmail’. with a perennial ‘basket case’ economy and a politico-military establishment that is blatantly mainstreaming internationally proscribed terrorists, it takes a lot of brass to write what you have written. it is a pity such intellectually dishonest pieces are accepted for publication.


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