‘Grossi formula’ designed to knock out Pakistan’s NSG bid

SDP official says proposal Islamabad-specific; govt asked to consider separating civilian and nuclear facilities to bolster credentials for NSG membership

ISLAMABAD - The “Grossi formula” to induct non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is discriminatory and designed to knock out Pakistan, a senior official of the Strategic Plans Division (SDP) said on Friday.

Dr Adil Sultan, a senior official at the SPD, said that the formula was “problematic” as it was Pakistan-specific.

Last day Pakistan called for the criteria-based approach to include new members in the elite club. Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan was eligible for the membership as it met every criteria.

For several months Pakistan has been urging NSG member countries to avoid discrimination amid the United States clear tilt towards India.

India lost the bid in June to get the membership after failing to secure a mandatory unanimous vote. At the June meeting, China fully supported Pakistan and reiterated its stand that both Pakistan and India should be awarded membership if non-NPT states were inducted.

The NSG is a group of nuclear supplier countries seeking non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through two sets of guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear related exports.

A Washington-based Arms Control Association, this week, warned that the draft proposal to accept new members in the NSG favoured India and would leave Pakistan out.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion hosted by a local think-tank – Strategic Vision Institute – on the latest proposal on the criteria for membership of non-NPT states presented by Ambassador Rafael Grossi, SPD’s Dr Adil Sultan said that the Grossi formula was being projected by its proponents as an objective and non-discriminatory criteria, which could be applicable to both Pakistan and India, “but there are various technical knock-outs for Pakistan’s case”.

Grossi is acting as the facilitator of the consultations between NSG members on the Pakistan and Indian applications for membership of the international nuclear export control cartel.

Sultan said that Pakistan found the Grossi formula “inherently designed to knock-out its candidature.”  Pakistan, he said, does not technically fulfil four requirements proposed by Ambassador Grossi in his nine-point proposal titled “revised version of a draft ‘Exchange of Notes’ for Non-NPT applicant”, which pertain to separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities, notification of civilian facilities to the International Atomic Energy Agency, existence of safeguards agreement covering all civilian facilities, and ratification of additional protocol supplementing the safeguards accord.

“Both India and Pakistan can meet the other five conditions about export controls, commitment on no future testing, plans with respect to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and commitments for advancing the objectives of non-proliferation and not blocking a consensus on any future application by a non-NPT state,” he said.

Dr Sultan said that admission of non-NPT states into the NSG had become a “politicised issue”. He said that Pakistan had conveyed its reservations about the Grossi formula to NSG member countries.

He saw ill intentions behind the Grossi proposal. “The intent is not to have an objective criterion. There is a political motivation behind it,” the SPD official said.

He said that Pakistan would have to think about “out of the box” for further strengthening its credentials so that it can meet the requisite conditions once the NSG members settle for criteria.

SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said the criteria proposed by Grossi suited India, but at the same time, it tries to give a false sense of security to Pakistan that in the case of India’s entry Delhi would not veto a Pakistani application in the future.

The SVI recommended to the government to consider separating the civilian and nuclear facilities and signing and ratifying the additional protocol to the safeguards agreement so that Pakistan could bolster its credentials for NSG membership.

It expressed concern over testing of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile Agni-V missile by India.

Dr Cheema said that Agni-V symbolised India’s quest for great power status. “Pakistan should not ignore its future employment,” he added.

Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said that Agni-V had intensified Pakistan’s security dilemma and would spur an arms race in the region. The test, he said, further signified that India was ready to assert itself in the Pacific region. He wondered about world’s muted reaction to the Indian test.

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