Nuclear Suppliers Group or the NSG is a multilateral export control regime. It is a set of nuclear supplier countries that look forward to preventing nuclear proliferation. It contains 48 countries including nuclear power states and other NPT states, that have came together on one table with the pledge to control the export of nuclear materials, equipment and technology that can be employed to manufacture nuclear weapons. The members of the NSG are the countries that are also part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT.
The NSG was founded as a result of Indian nuclear testing in May 1974 with its first official meeting held in November 1975 seeing the need for further limitations to be set upon the export of nuclear weaponry. This group stands for mobilizing useful nuclear technology within the cluster of nations that are members of the group and producing technology that benefits their societies collectively i.e. through non-destructive/civil nuclear use.
India and Pakistan both seek to be a part of this group and both the nuclear armed countries have applied for its membership. Though it is against the terms and conditions of the NSG to give membership to countries that are not the part of NPT (both India and Pakistan are not).
NSG membership is in fact important for both the countries, India and Pakistan since it ensures the mobilization of advanced nuclear technology to and from these countries to other countries of the group. Any country, be it India or Pakistan, that will be left out in the situation will face a sense of insecurity or vulnerability from the other- especially mentioning in the context of the current South Asian nuclear politics- where both countries are on full swing towards deterring each other with their military might.
The question arises in this as to why is India being given a popular support from multiple countries for its membership in the NSG when it is not part of NPT- defying eligibility in the NSG group? Yet it is being thought of addition into the group. Most NSG states have given their approval for membership except some, including China. In the NSG group, membership can only be secured if all members of the group are willing to give a particular country the position i.e. on the consensual basis. Contrastingly, the membership of Pakistan is being called into question because of a few reasons, including; it not being the part of NPT. Also there is a popular notion that Pakistan might indulge into violent use of technology, though Pakistan has made its agenda clear in front of the group multiple times.
The reason India is being given supremacy in this situation is because it holds better, cordial relations with the United States- who views India as a major nuclear and conventional arms partner, signing multiple contracts of weapon exchange. India’s position for the US as a counterweight to China in the region is the biggest point in favor of India. Pakistan, on the other hand has worsening relations with the United States, making its membership in the NSG improbable.
Another factor adding the fuel to fire in this situation for Pakistan is its cordial relations with Peoples Republic of China. U.S. and India both fear that the alliance in arms of the two countries might threaten the supremacy of the two in world politics. To counter this argument, Pakistan has assured the NSG states that it will not involve in any arms buildup or arms treaties as such with China, yet NSG membership is not being assured.
In this complete scenario, China too has emerged in the support of Pakistan claiming that it will not approve the membership of India in NSG until or unless Pakistan is not made a member. What strikes the mind is why such unfair treatment is being given by the NSG members to Pakistan contrasting to India.
Another apprehension of the NSG is that nuclear technology might be misused by Pakistan in the case that the notorious Taliban/ terrorists may have it in hand. The question here arises, Pakistan has been a nuclear power since the past 20 years now, no such case has come forward and it is expected that no such case will ever make room in Pakistan.
The self constructed hostile image of Pakistan by the world has already given it multiple backlashes, with another coming forward in the shape of NSG membership. If for Pakistan it is a precondition to sign the NPT, India shall sign it as well, since that is the only reservation Pakistan holds towards not having signed the NPT in the first place.
If India is given membership in the NSG, Pakistan too shall be ensured the membership or else, the impartiality and transparency of the agenda of the NSG can be called into question. To block membership on the basis of self constructed images and ideas is no way near fair treatment. When Pakistan has made its vision clear to the group, no rational opinion will still apprehend Pakistan of having background planning. If India is given the membership, the security of Pakistan will be called in to question and India can easily veto Pakistan’s membership into the group. Therefore the NSG shall look into the matter, give a chance to Pakistan remove whatever apprehensions the group holds towards it and shall be allowed to clear its stance in front of the group and should only opt for a simultaneous granting of membership to both the states.