A draft proposal on accepting new members into the Nuclear Suppliers Group could be India’s ticket to the 48-member international body, Dawn reported on Wednesday.

The two-page document – prepared last week by Acting NSG Chairman Rafael Mariano Grossi – lays down criteria to grant membership to non-signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. These rules, however, favour India’s membership to the group but not Pakistan’s, the United States-based Arms Control Association said, according to Dawn.

In addition to the criteria India needs to meet to become an NSG member, ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball explained that Pakistan will also have to “win a separate NSG exemption from the full-scope safeguards requirement” to partake in civil nuclear trade with NSG states. “Pakistan still has grounds to object to the formula outlined by Mr Grossi,” Kimball said.

The proposed criteria

  • A non-signatory to the NPT must declare that it has enforced a clear differentiation between current and future civilian nuclear facilities and non-civilian nuclear facilities. The applicant must also prove that it is ready to enforce this rule to all its future nuclear setups.
  • A new member is also required to assure the NSG that it has provided and maintains a declaration to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which keeps a record of present and future civilian nuclear setups.
  • Aspiring members need to prove to the group that it has implements IAEA-compliant safeguards, as well. 

The proposal, however, outlines a stipulation that would prevent India from blocking Pakistan’s entry to the global nuclear technology monitor. The draft suggests that “one non-NPT member state should reach an understanding to not block consensus on membership for another non-NPT member state”.

Moreover, the Washington-based arms control body has warned against relaxing NSG membership rules. Currently, states are required to be NPT signatories before joining this exclusive group. The three nations of India, Pakistan and Israel that are looking to become NSG members are non-NPT states.

While India’s bid to become an NSG member has US support, China and six other countries had blocked New Delhi’s application. Pakistan, too, has attempted to thwart India’s efforts for NSG membership. Grossi’s draft proposal also mentions the India-Pakistan dispute, noting that both countries have “political reasons” to block the other’s membership.

The document prepared by Grossi, who was acting on behalf of current NSG Chairman Song Young-wan, is considered semi-official.