Indian NSG bid to destab­lise re­gion

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Reema Shaukat Email:

NU­CLEAR Sup­plier’s Group is most heated de­bate In­dia and Pak­istan nowa­days.NSG was cre­ated con­se­quent to In­dia’s first nu­clear test in 1974. Nu­clear Sup­pli­ers’ Group is a 48-nation body which was es­tab­lished in 1975, to en­sure that civil­ian trade in nu­clear ma­te­ri­als is not di­verted for mil­i­tary pur­poses. NSG is an in­for­mal agree­ment between par­tic­i­pat­ing gov­ern­ments which has no le­gal bind­ing and its guide­lines are re­li­able and bal­ance var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional legally bind­ing in­stru­ments in the field of nu­clear non­pro­lif­er­a­tion. NSG pur­sues to con­trib­ute to the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion of nu­clear weapons through im­ple­men­ta­tion of two sets of guide­lines for non-nu­clear and nu­clear re­lated ex­ports.

The aim of NSG guide­lines is to en­sure that nu­clear trade for peace­ful pur­poses does not con­trib­ute to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of nu­clear weapons and that in­ter­na­tional trade and co­op­er­a­tion in the nu­clear field is not hin­dered un­justly in the process. NSG re­quires ac­cep­tance of IAEA safe­guards on all their cur­rent and fu­ture nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties; thus en­sur­ing that only NPT par­ties and other states with full scope safe­guards agree­ments ben­e­fit from nu­clear trans­fers.

In­dia was given a spe­cial nu­clear waiver on in­tense US pres­sures in 2008, al­low­ing pur­chase and sell of nu­clear tech­nol­ogy to and from USA. In­dia de­vel­oped its nu­clear pro­gramme swiftly un­der this Indo-US deal and it was ob­served that In­dia in­creased its fis­sile stock­pile un­der the veil of this spe­cial waiver by NSG. Sim­i­larly, In­dia in­tended to have nu­clear ma­te­rial which was mostly used for mil­i­tary pur­poses and was against Pak­istan and China to ini­ti­ate nu­clear arms race with them in South Asian re­gion.

In­dia is now bid­ding for NSG membership. On the global can­vas if In­dia is granted NSG membership then, ac­cep­tance of In­dia into the cir­cle of rec­og­nized nu­clear weapon states would prove that in­stead of rec­og­nized frame­work, west­ern coun­tries are in­creas­ingly de­cid­ing between good and bad pro­lif­er­a­tion thereby un­der­min­ing NPT and chal­leng­ing ba­sic con­cept of NSG. Se­condly,non-pro­lif­er­a­tion com­mit­ments ac­cepted by In­dia for ini­tial waiver in 2008 may en­sure that nu­clear ma­te­rial and equip­ment im­ported by In­dia, is not used for weapons pro­duc­tion. How­ever, this would pro­vide In­dia flex­i­bil­ity to di­vert in­dige­nous ma­te­rial avail­able for weapons pro­duc­tion which there­fore will im­pact on global se­cu­rity. Thirdly this NSG waiver for In­dia di­min­ishes the non­nu­clear weapons states’ in­cen­tive to re­main bounded to NPT. There­fore, fol­low­ing the Indian ex­am­ple, if the non-nu­clear weapons states with­draw from NPT then it will have a force ef­fect and there will be many new nu­clear states emerg­ing in com­ing years.

Pak­istan has con­stantly raised its voice at dif­fer­ent in­ter­na­tional fo­rums against the dis­crim­i­na­tion and the af­ter­maths in the re­gion if In­dia is given NSG membership. China and other coun­tries are sup­port­ive to Pak­istan to veto the NSG membership to In­dia. Pak­istan has much stronger po­si­tion than In­dia in safe­guard­ing its nu­clear as­sets as not even a sin­gle in­ci­dent of nu­clear mishap is recorded, nor it mis­used the nu­clear sup­plies given to it for peace­ful pur­poses and nei­ther there is a case of theft of fis­sile ma­te­rial in Pak­istan.

Spe­cial Ad­viser on For­eign Af­fairs in a re­cent state­ment said that Pak­istan has re­jected Indian hege­mony in the re­gion and has ef­fec­tively pro­tected its in­ter­ests and its stance over Kash­mir, nu­clear de­ter­rence and con­ven­tional bal­ance. For upcoming NSG membership in Seoul, where bid for In­dia and Pak­istan case will be raised Pak­istan is very hope­ful and op­ti­mistic that its case is more con­vinc­ing than In­dia, whereas USA has called on the par­tic­i­pat­ing gov­ern­ments of the NSG to sup­port In­dia’s ap­pli­ca­tion. Pak­istan is sure of its ple­nary sup­port by China, Rus­sia, New Zealand and South Korea. Re­cent state­ments by Indian of­fi­cials show that they are feared from Pak­istan’s en­try into NSG as they consider Pak­istan a hur­dle into their re­gional hege­monic de­signs.

Pak­istan is sure that its long last­ing friend­ship with China will help its plea for NSG, as China urges to give an equal sta­tus and cri­te­ria of selec­tion for any coun­try. Pak­istan’s long stand­ing with NSG and its com­mit­ment to­wards global non­pro­lif­er­a­tion regime are strong points in its favour.If Pak­istan is given NSG membership, it will def­i­nitely strengthen its case of li­able and re­spon­si­ble nu­clear coun­try. Pak­istan will be able to con­trib­ute in lieu of in­ter­na­tional safe­guards and will there­fore pro­mote nu­clear tech­nol­ogy for peace­ful pur­poses with­out dis­turb­ing strate­gic sta­bil­ity in the re­gion.

— The writer works for Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Con­flict and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think tank based in Islamabad.

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