Islamabad: Pakistan's adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said that his country has ‘stronger credentials’ than India for a membership to the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) if they decide to form an uniform criteria for non-NPT states.
"If the group forms such a uniform criteria, then Pakistan has stronger credentials for NSG membership than India," said the top minister in an exclusive interview to Dawn.
Aziz asserted that Pakistan has engaged with many countries to discuss the criteria-based approach for non-NPT countries that would pave way for their entry into the elite club.
"Our strategy was to apply after India did, after which we would have immediately followed. We have had our application in an advance state of readiness for the past three months for purpose," Aziz said.
He claimed that Pakistan has already convinced several countries including crucial ones like Russia, New Zealand and South Korea to support the criteria-based approach and that they have always had the backing of China.
According to Aziz, if India would be allowed to enter the NSG, then Pakistan could not be left behind either.
"If you compare it with India, when our neighbouring country conducted a nuclear test in 1974, it misused the nuclear supplies given to it for peaceful purposes, which led to the formation of NSG. After that nuclear fissile material was stolen from India, but such an instance has never occurred in Pakistan," Aziz said.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi building up more support for India's NSG bid, an alarmed Pakistan has been lobbying hard to ensure that India is not allowed into the exclusive nuclear group.
Aziz said the US has formed a policy to 'build up India' as "their entire attention is towards containing the Islamic world and China".
"We cannot question them but we repeatedly tell them that you (US) are a sovereign country and can maintain any level of relations with any country, but if you increase the strategic and conventional imbalance in South Asia, our problems will increase," the foreign affairs adviser said while referring to the US support for India's inclusion in NSG.
The US has been pushing for India's NSG membership while China has been reportedly backing Pakistan's bid to join the nuclear trading club.
India, though not a member, enjoys the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules for its atomic cooperation deal with the US.
The NSG looks after critical issues relating to nuclear sector and its members are allowed to trade in and export nuclear technology. The NSG works under the principle of unanimity and even one nation's vote against a country could scuttle its bid....