By Asma Khalid*
The Trajectory of Non- Proliferation regime is most likely to be determined in forthcoming (27th) plenary session of NSG.
The nuclear cartel of 48-member states deals with the export of nuclear material and nuclear related technology. According to the NSG guidelines, membership of group requires that states should be a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to get the membership of group. Both India and Pakistan are aspirants to NSG membership. The membership application of India and Pakistan, debated over inclusion of Non-NPT, has been intensified.
The support of of the major powers by providing a waiver by US, India’s intensive diplomatic efforts and introduction of the discriminatory Grossi formula to support the Indian bid for NSG membership has shaken the India-Pakistan’s bilateral dialogue on nuclear matters and such discriminatory approach has undermined the spirit of global Non-Proliferation regime.
Despite presenting a discriminatory proposal on December 6, 2016, the support of the major powers and China’s demand for an unbiased non-discriminatory approach, India’s inclusion in NSG has reached a critical stage. In this regard the question arises that what will be the prospects for the Pakistan and India candidacies in the forthcoming NSG-plenary meeting? And what are the policy options for Pakistan to promote its stance to counter the resistance on gaining the NSG-membership.
Both India and Pakistan are determined to get the membership of NSG for three significant reasons: economic, political and strategic. Membership in NSG is a top priority of India as it will enhance that country’s prestige in global affairs, as well as allowing India to actively play its role in the international arena for the export and import of nuclear related technology. On the other side, NSG membership will ensure economic, political and technological benefits for Pakistan.
Secondly, providing any special exemption fromthe NSG principle to India and ignoring Pakistan’s bid will disturb the strategic balance in South Asia. Due to these multiple dimensions both Non-NPT states are making rigorous efforts to obtain membership in the nuclear cartel.
Trends have revealed that both India and Pakistan will face resistance in gaining NSG membership in the 27th plenary meeting. This is because, the NSG works on a consensus and member states have remained dividend on the matter of NSG membership. It has remained divided on the US and Chinese positions, despite India’s extensive lobbying with the countries since last meeting of NSG.
Notwithstanding the proactive lobby, India has failed to win Chain’s support for NSG membership as China is sticking to its stance and demand for a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach.
On the other side, the US claims that India is a like-minded country that deserves to be included in the group just to serve its own defence and strategic objectives. So despite the US backing and Indian proactive diplomatic efforts, global politics and recent developments have indicated that India may not receive a special benefit against the mandate and the spirit of NSG in forthcoming plenary.
This will be another setback for India, as such obtaining the membership of group will be a difficult task for both India, as well as Pakistan. It is also perceived that the US and India will increase their efforts to convince member states, including China ,without considering the impact of such policies for region and global efforts of Non-proliferation.
Subsequently, the significance of the forthcoming plenary for Pakistan cannot be ignored and it is imperative that it should not give up its quest for membership. Despite China’s official stance of support for Pakistan’s candidature, it is important for Pakistan to maintain its resilience and sustainability in its strategy regarding membership in the nuclear cartel.
For this purpose policy options for Pakistan includes:
- First, economic engagement and a need to project itself as a great economic incentive for other states.
- Second, Pakistan needs to adopt more a proactive foreign policy and diplomacy to cater the support for Pakistan’s bid in nuclear group.
Although debate over membership of Non-NPT states has reached a critical stage despite improved nuclear credentials, Pakistan is facing a discriminatory attitude and a country-specific approach has been followed by the US to support India. Nevertheless, Pakistan should not give up its efforts and need sto constantly move towards its ambitions. Such a strategy will send the message to the international community that Pakistan is not in hurry, it is working and has maintained a balanced pace to gain recognition as a responsible member of the nuclear cartel.
*Asma Khalid, Writer is Research Associate at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) Islamabad. [email protected]