Nuclear Suppliers Group: Russia supports Pakistan’s bid to join exclusive club

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By Muhammad Luqman

Pakistan’s bid to reposition itself in the international community has started giving  dividends as Moscow has thrown its weight behind Islamabad’s  efforts to become member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an exclusive club of nuclear trading nations.

The support for Islamabad’s bid came from the Russian diplomat, who told a conference held in Islamabad on Friday that Moscow is not opposed to Pakistan’s NSG candidature and has no intention to block it.

Speaking at the seminar on ‘Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Strategic Stability’ that had been organised by Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), Pavel Didkovsky, first secretary at Russian Embassy, underlined the possibility of a criteria based approach for inclusion of non-NPT states in NSG.

He said Russia along with China and others are working for a formula that could be acceptable to all.

The Russian diplomat praised steps taken by Pakistan for strengthening its national export control programme that complied with the spirit of international regimes and conventions.

He also appreciated the endeavors of Pakistan government for stability in the region including unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing and its support for Russian position on prevention of arms race in outer space.

Speaking on the occasion,  Zamir Akram, former permanent representative to Conference on Disarmament and United Nations in Geneva, said Pakistan is seeking to maintain strategic stability in South Asia by having credible deterrence.

He underscored that stability and deterrence were shifting in the region because of India’s acquisition of triad of delivery systems, the region’s political dynamics, uncertain situation in Afghanistan and Indian hostilities at the Line of Control and its sub-conventional war against Pakistan through Afghanistan based proxies and terrorist groups.

Pakistan’s response strategy, he recalled, has been to develop low-yield weapons, sea-based deterrent, and long range ballistic missile – achieve MIRV (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle) capability –  and an effective counter-terrorism undertaking.

“But still we are ready for dialogue and more confidence building measures to stabilise the situation,” he emphasised.

Former defense production secretary Lt-Gen Syed Muhammad Owais agreed that regional stability was being disturbed by India. He said India was being encouraged in its weapons buildup by the United States, whose government’s “erratic and incendiary” policies are destabilising the world at large.”

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