Draft Nuclear Suppliers Group rule favours India, but forbids Pakistan

India's quest for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an exclusive club of nuclear-active nations, may get a push if a draft proposal for accepting new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is accepted.

A new draft proposal by Rafael Mariano Grossi, a former chairman of the NSG, suggesting ways of including non-NPT nations in the grouping, paves the way for India's entry into the exclusive club but leaves Pakistan out, says a US-based arms control organisation.

However, the Arms Control Association (ACA), Washington, warns that relaxing membership rules will undermine non-proliferation.

The two-page draft prepared by Grossi, reportedly on behalf of current chairman Song Young-wan of South Korea, has clause that seeks to discriminate between NPT and non-NPT members, The Dawn commented quoting US media.

According to the report, Grossi has added a clause in the draft to prevent India from blocking Pakistan from joining the NPT. "One non-NPT member state should reach an understanding not to block consensus on membership for another non-NPT member state," the paper reported citing the draft.

However, according to ACA executive director Daryl Kimball, "Pakistan still has grounds to object to the formula outlined by Grossi", as the document will require Pakistan to meet the same criteria for membership as India, "but, to engage in civil nuclear trade with NSG states, it would have to win a separate NSG exemption from the full-scope safeguards requirement".

India is seeking membership of the NSG on the strength of the fact that it is already doing business with NSG members. The country also has obtained exemption from full-scope safeguards requirement.

Both India and Pakistan are vying for the NSG membership, although they are not signatory to the nuclear non proliferation treaty, a prerequisite for the gaining entry into the 48-member strong group under existing rules.

The Grossi draft is intended to lift that ban and allow non-NPT states like India and Pakistan to join the group.

While India's bid for the membership of the group is backed by the United States, China is blocking India's membership and backing its ally Pakistan instead, seeking equal status with India for its NSG membership.

The NSG, a group of 48 nations with advanced nuclear technology, was formed in 1975 in the aftermath of India's first nuclear weapons test, which used plutonium produced with nuclear technology from Canada and the US. The NSG seeks to prevent similar misuses in the future.

Current NSG membership rules require a state to sign the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) but, India along with Israel and Pakistan are yet to sign the NPT, which, India says is discriminative.

Earlier this year, India formally applied for membership and was followed by Pakistan. The US, and a host of other powerful western nations, back India's application, but China and half a dozen other nations are blocking India's membership, which requires a consensus of all members.

India hoped to join the group during NSG's last plenary session, held in Seoul in June this year, but the meeting ended without taking any decision on New Delhi's application (See: India's NSG entry hopes dashed as Seoul meet ends).