Lahore: A day ahead of the crucial Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meet in Seoul over India and Pakistan's membership in the elite group, Pakistan's former permanent representative at the United Nations in Geneva Zamir Akram said Islamabad was only opposed to the 'exclusive membership' to India.
According to Dawn, Akram was speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), on the implications of the upcoming plenary session of the NSG on June 23-24 in Seoul, South Korea, where deliberations will be held on membership for non-NPT states, including Pakistan and India. "Pakistan supports the evolution of criteria that can be applied across the board," Akram said.
Speaking at the roundtable, Akram warned about the likely implications if India alone was admitted into the NSG, including dimming of future prospects for Pakistan's entry into the club and likely growth in Indian nuclear arsenal. SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that India's lone entry into the NSG would put back Pakistani efforts for developing its infrastructure and industry by decades.
These comments follow the statement by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj that India does not object to any country, including Pakistan to join the NSG.
China is the leading challenger to the West-supported bid to get India into the 48-member nuclear trade cartel. According to the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, "China maintains that the NSG fully discuss the accession of non-NPT countries and make decisions based on consultation in a way acceptable to all".