- PM’s adviser Sartaj Aziz says Pakistan fulfills necessary requirements for NSG membership
- Says NSG troika being formally invited to visit Pakistan for detailed briefing on country’s credentials
Islamabad on Friday urged New Delhi to ink a non-testing regime on nuclear weapons, while an offer was also made to India for an ‘exclusive dialogue’ on the decades-old Kashmir dispute.
These offers were made by Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz during a special briefing held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Flanked by Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria, Aziz said that Pakistan is one of the applicants along with India for the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), even though both the countries have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“Our application for NSG is based on our desire to strengthen global non-proliferation regimes and for the need for strategic stability and level-playing field in South Asia. Pakistan needs NSG membership to prioritise its socio-economic development and technological advancement, and for achieving capability to supply items on NSG lists Part-1 and 2,” the adviser said.
He said Pakistan’s formal application for NSG membership was submitted on May 19, and the country has been preparing for it for quite some time.
“Our efforts to upgrade our export controls, nuclear safety and security pre-date our application. Even prior to the formal filing of our NSG application, we had been undertaking extensive diplomatic efforts to win support for our bid for mainstreaming in the multilateral export control regimes. This issue has been a feature of our bilateral visits and regular bilateral dialogues with all important countries,” he added.
The adviser said Islamabad’s strong lobbying efforts have yielded positive results. “Our arguments for criteria-based approach and the impact of any India-specific exemption on the strategic stability in South Asia and on the future of non-proliferation regime have been accepted by several NSG countries,” he noted.
Aziz said Pakistan is confident of the merits of its membership application.
“Our export controls are fully harmonised with those of the NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group. We have taken extensive measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security. More recently, Pakistan has taken three significant steps ie, (i) public statement on nuclear test moratorium, (ii) ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), (iii) and declaring adherence to NSG guidelines,” said the adviser.
Aziz said Pakistan is committed not to transferring nuclear weapons to other states or assisting others to acquire nuclear weapons. “Pakistan’s Policy Guidelines on Strategic Export Controls require requisite safeguards on all relevant material in a recipient state. This implies comprehensive safeguards requirement for all states which have a legal obligation to apply such safeguards. Pakistan has also consistently supported the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world through the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the Conference on Disarmament. It may also be noted that the measures put in place by Pakistan are consistent with the Articles I, III.2 and VI of NPT as well as the objectives that NSG has sought to promote,” added the prime minister’s adviser.
Aziz also said Pakistan has consistently supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). “We voted for the Treaty when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996. We have declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-testing with India,” he added.
The adviser said the issue of NSG membership cannot be separated from the consideration of strategic stability in the region.
“In 2008, the NSG missed an opportunity to promote simultaneous adherence to non-proliferation benchmarks by Pakistan and India, as a part of a package deal which would have promoted restraint and stability in the region. We hope that on the question of membership, established NSG procedures and modalities for discussions would not be bypassed, once again to rush a country-specific waiver that disregards non-proliferation objectives,” he added.
Pakistan’s NSG membership will further the NSG non-proliferation objectives through the inclusion of a state with nuclear supply capabilities and its adherence to NSG guidelines and best practices on supply of controlled items, goods, materials, technologies and services, the adviser said.
Aziz said that being fossil fuel deficient, as well as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change, Pakistan is compelled to increase the percentage of clean energies, including nuclear energy, in the national energy mix.
Pakistan’s Energy Security Plan includes a nuclear power programme which envisages substantial increase in nuclear energy by 2050 to respond to the future requirements of a growing population and economy.
“The implementation of the programme will offer opportunities for cooperation at the international level under IAEA safeguards. Pakistan looks forward to removing barriers for gaining equitable access to international civil nuclear cooperation for mutual benefit,” he said.
“We are formally inviting NSG troika to visit Pakistan for a detailed briefing on our credentials. Moreover, we welcome any opportunity to engage bilaterally with interested NSG countries for a detailed presentation on the merits of our application,” averred the adviser.
Briefing the media on the outcome of the Envoys’ Conference held earlier this month in Islamabad, Sartaj Aziz said the moot held detailed discussions on the global and regional issues and agreed that the key elements of the foreign policy of Pakistan were pointing in the right direction.
He said that “the broad framework of our foreign policy included peace for development, building a “peaceful neighborhood”, regional connectivity, economic diplomacy under the slogan ‘trade, not aid’ and…..promoting the potential and welfare of Pakistani diaspora and enhancing the country’s image abroad”.
Aziz said the moot noted the recent regional and global developments as new alignments and cooperation is developing. The adviser said Pakistan wanted to have good relationship with the US and China simultaneously.
“Pakistan and China’s collaboration on the CPEC and our outreach to Central Asian countries and connectivity to Eurasian landmass were opening new vistas of connectivity, economic opportunities and prosperity. While our relations with China are time-tested, we would also like to maintain cordial relations with the US. We have stayed engaged with the US and are working to build convergences and address divergences,” he added.
As for India, the Envoys’ Conference noted that India’s policy of not engaging in a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan was not conducive for peace in South Asia.
“The conference spent considerable time on the grim situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir and Indian brutality after July 8. The conference emphasised the indigenous character of the movement in Kashmir and condemned the atrocities being committed by Indian forces on unarmed and innocent Kashmiris,” noted the adviser.
“The moot emphasised that Pakistan continues to extend full diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris’ movement for their right to self-determination. It discussed a number of diplomatic initiatives being taken. In this regard, Pakistan should invite India for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Our foreign secretary would formally be writing to his counterpart in this regard,” added Aziz.
“The conference noted that Pakistan has made remarkable progress in fighting terrorism which has received worldwide recognition. Certain countries seem to be creating a negative narrative which will be deterred, rejected and countered,” he added.
“On Afghanistan, the moot noted that there was full consensus in Pakistan that the peace in Afghanistan is in our national interest,” said the adviser. “We should, therefore, continue to work for peace in Afghanistan, effective border management and continued efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. It was agreed that engagement with Afghanistan will be intensified at all levels to address each others’ concern and to build on points of convergence,” concluded Aziz.