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Pakistan Observer - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

de­vel­oped a Nu­clear Power Pro­gramme 2050 en­vis­ag­ing gen­er­a­tion of 8,800 MWe by 2030 and 40,000 MWe by 2050. I reckon these are modest goals sub­ject to re­vi­sion be­cause our pace for civil nu­clear en­ergy is fast and the de­mand for nu­clear-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity is grow­ing.

Now let us look at Pak­istan’s cre­den­tials and dili­gence as a re­spon­si­ble nu­clear state. In many ar­eas, we are equal to In­dia; in oth­ers we have out­per­formed In­dia. Since 1998, to avert a war and an arms race in South Asia, Pak­istan has con­sis­tently ad­vo­cated nu­clear and mis­sile re­straint, con­ven­tional bal­ance and con­flict res­o­lu­tion. Pak­istan has more than 42 years ex­pe­ri­ence in safe and se­cure op­er­a­tion of nu­clear power plants un­der In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) safe­guards. The sep­a­ra­tion of Pak­istani civil and mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties is much more dis­tinct than In­dia’s. Pak­istan, for in­stance, does not have a fast breeder re­ac­tor pro­gramme. It has de­clared a vol­un­tary mora­to­rium on nu­clear test­ing; so has In­dia.

Pak­istan has cre­ated a strong and re­silient com­mand and con­trol sys­tem work­ing un­der the Na­tional Com­mand Au­thor­ity (NCA), which over­sees tech­ni­cal so­lu­tions, per­son­nel re­li­a­bil­ity, and in­tel­li­gence ca­pa­bil­i­ties to deal with nu­clear se­cu­rity, non­pro­lif­er­a­tion, ac­ci­dents and ter­ror­ist threats; as well as coun­ters in­sider, out­sider and cy­ber threats. Pak­istan’s state of the art Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence on Nu­clear Se­cu­rity has been judged one of the best such in­sti­tu­tions by the US and IAEA of­fi­cials.

Our au­ton­o­mous reg­u­la­tory regime, led by Pak­istan Nu­clear Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (PNRA) and sup­ported by a sep­a­rate Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Di­vi­sion, watches over nu­clear safety and se­cu­rity, pro­tec­tion of ma­te­ri­als and fa­cil­i­ties, ma­te­rial con­trol and ac­count­ing, trans­port se­cu­rity, preven­tion of il­licit traf­fick­ing, bor­der con­trols, and plans to deal with pos­si­ble ra­di­o­log­i­cal emer­gen­cies. In­dia, on the other hand, does not have an in­de­pen­dent nu­clear reg­u­la­tory agency. Pak­istan has har­mo­nized its nu­clear ex­port con­trol regime - laws and en­force­ment mech­a­nisms - with the the NSG and other in­ter­na­tional ex­port regimes cov­er­ing mis­siles, bi­o­log­i­cal agents and chem­i­cal pre­cur­sors, and dual use tech­nolo­gies. Pak­istan has been work­ing closely with the UNSC Res­o­lu­tion 1540 Com­mit­tee and has sub­mit­ted four re­ports so far to it. Pro­lif­er­a­tion ac­tiv­i­ties have been crim­i­nal­ized. Our con­sis­tent ob­ser­vance of the IAEA Code of Con­duct and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the IAEA’s In­ci­dent and Traf­fick­ing Data­base (ITDB) have been highly use­ful and ap­pre­ci­ated by the Agency.

Pak­istan has been an ac­tive and con­struc­tive par­tic­i­pant in the in­ter­na­tional fo­rums - the United Na­tions, Con­fer­ence on Dis­ar­ma­ment, IAEA, Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mits, the Global Ini­tia­tive to Com­bat Nu­clear Ter­ror­ism - to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble nu­clear ste­ward­ship, peace­ful uses of nu­clear tech­nol­ogy, and nu­clear se­cu­rity and safety. Our ef­forts have been ac­knowl­edged by a large ma­jor­ity of na­tions and ac­tors. As a party to the Con­ven­tion on Phys­i­cal Pro­tec­tion of Nu­clear Ma­te­rial (CPPNM) and now its 2005 Amend­ment, the Nu­clear Safety Con­ven­tion, the Con­ven­tion on Early No­ti­fi­ca­tion of a Nu­clear Ac­ci­dent, and the Con­ven­tion on As­sis­tance in the case of a Nu­clear Ac­ci­dent or Ra­di­o­log­i­cal Emer­gency, Pak­istan has been con­tribut­ing to the nu­clear se­cu­rity frame­work.

The NSG gave ex­cep­tion to In­dia in 2008 on the con­di­tion that it would take vol­un­tary ac­tions to con­trib­ute to non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime. Pak­istan has been do­ing that for sev­eral decades. On the other hand, In­dia has been pro­duc­ing huge quan­ti­ties of fis­sile ma­te­rial, un­der the cover of the 2005 Indo-US nu­clear deal, to ex­pand its nu­clear weapons rapidly.

In the light of Pak­istan’s im­pres­sive and com­pre­hen­sive port­fo­lio, which can be in­de­pen­dently ver­i­fied, there should be no ob­jec­tion to ac­cept­ing Pak­istan into the NSG. But four reser­va­tions on part of the US re­main, which can be ad­dressed up­front. The shelf life of the A.Q. Khan af­fair has ex­pired. If In­dia, the “orig­i­nal sin­ning pro­lif­er­a­tor”, can be par­doned and be read­ied for anoint­ing as a nu­clear power, Pak­istan too can be in­cor­po­rated in the club; es­pe­cially when Pak­istan has taken all the re­me­dial mea­sures in­clud­ing the de­p­lum­ing its nu­clear hero. The Euro­peans coun­tries, whose non-state en­ti­ties were in­volved in il­licit nu­clear trade, closed ranks and took no ac­tion against them. Sec­ond, in the past two years, it has be­come ev­i­dent that Pak­istan has not been block­ing talks in Geneva on a Fis­sile Ma­te­rial Cut­off Treaty (FMCT) be­cause Pak­istan was not part of a Gov­ern­men­tal Group of Ex­perts that was cre­ated to de­velop con­sen­sus on FMCT in the ab­sence of Pak­istan but failed to do so. In­dia, de­spite its solemn com­mit­ment to the US to help move for­ward the FMCT ne­go­ti­a­tions, has been quite luke­warm in its ef­fort and in many in­stances ob­struc­tive. Third, sure, In­dia has signed a Ad­di­tional Pro­to­col to the IAEA’s Safe­guards Agree­ment. Pak­istan can con­sider giv­ing a com­mit­ment in prin­ci­ple to do so if there is a se­ri­ous move to in­clude Pak­istan in the NSG. Fourth, Pak­istan could hold dis­cus­sions si­mul­ta­ne­ously with In­dia, the US and China on the sta­tus of the nu­clear test ban treaty.

China has taken the most forth­right and prin­ci­pled stand on the ques­tion of In­dia and Pak­istan’s en­try into the NSG. Both are non-NPT nu­clear weapons states; both should be judged by the same yard­stick; and there­fore the NSG should first evolve an agreed cri­te­rion to take them in. There should be no ex­cep­tion­al­ism for In­dia to en­list it to coun­ter­act China’s rise. In this case strate­gic cal­cu­lus should be set aside. Oth­ers - es­pe­cially NPT non-nu­clear weapon states Nor­way, Swe­den, Ire­land, the Nether­lands, Aus­tria, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ar­gentina, Brazil - all should be queasy or con­cerned about in­duct­ing In­dia into the club with­out a cri­te­rion. They are be­cause this would be high­hand­ed­ness flout­ing in­ter­na­tional norms. Wash­ing­ton should lis­ten to the rum­blings in the nu­clear street.

Make no mis­take. If In­dia gets into the NSG, it will block Pak­istan’s en­try into the club for all times to come, by in­vok­ing the rule of con­sen­sus. Its first ob­jec­tive will be to choke off sup­plies for Pak­istan’s civil nu­clear pro­gramme. Its sec­ond, and more sin­is­ter, plan will be to tar­get Pak­istan’s nu­clear weapons pro­gramme by prop­a­gat­ing that Pak­istan is a volatile, ter­ror­ism prone coun­try in­ca­pable of se­cur­ing its nu­clear as­sets or res­train­ing its nu­clear per­son­nel. In­dia will not suc­ceed in this en­deav­our but its past con­duct shows that it would cer­tainly move in that di­rec­tion de­ter­minedly.

Pak­istan is nei­ther a pariah nor a hold­out but an ac­tive, con­struc­tive main­stream player in nu­clear pol­i­tics and diplo­macy. It is high time its le­git­i­mate po­si­tion is rec­og­nized. As far as the diplo­matic cam­paign of our For­eign Of­fice is con­cerned, it should reach out not only to those who op­pose a lop-sided, par­ti­san ap­proach, but to those coun­tries who seem to be lean­ing to­wards In­dia and are amenable to Wash­ing­ton’s ‘blan­dish­ments’. It goes with­out say­ing that Wash­ing­ton, in­clud­ing its Congress, should be our most crit­i­cal in­ter­locu­tor. The US should pause, keep­ing in mind its own lead­er­ship on non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, the un­in­tended con­se­quences of ac­tions driven by re­alpoti­tik, and its long-term in­ter­ests with Pak­istan. —The writer is Direc­torGen­eral In­sti­tute of Strate­gic Stud­ies Is­lam­abad and a former Am­bas­sador to the UN and China. He was also Pak­istan’s chief ne­go­tia­tor for Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mits from 2009 to 2015.

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