India can increase nuclear stocks through NSG waiver: Aizaz Ch
The Nuclear Supplier Group's (NSG) waiver has allowed India to exponentially increase its fissile material stocks, said Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry on Friday. "Strategic stability in South Asia has been negatively impacted by Indo-US nuclear deal and the discriminatory waiver granted to India by the NSG," remarked the foreign secretary while speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies.
The foreign secretary further stated that "Pakistan is a peace loving country which was compelled to acquire nuclear deterrence in the face of grave threat to the country's national security." All of Pakistan's civilian nuclear facilities are placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards, and the country fully adheres to the standards set by the international agency, highlighted Aizaz.
Shifting the focus on to Pakistan's civilian nuclear needs, the bureaucrat explained that Pakistan is facing an energy shortage and Pakistan should be grant- ed NSG membership in accordance with a non-discriminatory uniform and criteria based approach.
Pakistan sees a nuclear lead as vital insurance against possible aggression by its larger neighbour, and it appears to be gaining the upper hand over India in the nuclear contest. According to earlier media reports, US has been weighing options to sign a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan. A report in The Washington Post had claimed that the US is exploring an option that could pave the way for a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan like the one concluded with India in 2005.
India's long road to nuclear legitimacy began with a bilateral deal with the United States in 2005 that, three years later, yielded an exemption allowing it to trade in sensitive nuclear technology with NSG nations. New Delhi expressed its interest in 2010 in formally joining the nuclear club. But India's lobbying has met with scepticism from European countries like Austria and Switzerland, who have questioned its refusal to sign the NPT and give up nuclear weapons.
Indian negotiators now detect a change of tone, and are focusing on winning over European sceptics. That, in turn, could bring round China, they calculate. "We are optimistic; there is a desire within the NSG to bring this process to a conclusion sooner rather than later," one Indian diplomat told Reuters. "People are comfortable with India."
Despite two summit meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has yet to signal its assent and may not agree, analysts caution. Despite those concerns, India is upbeat: "France joined the NSG before ratifying the NonProliferation Treaty," said the Indian diplomat. "It's not about arms controls. It's about export controls." India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence and partition in 1947, two over Kashmir. Their disputed frontier is one of the world's most heavily militarised regions. Border clashes and incursions pose a constant risk of escalation.