Washington: The United States has asked Pakistan to put its case of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before the 48-member countries rather than seeking individual endorsements for joining it.
Earlier this week, Pakistan had reportedly sent letters to American officials and lawmakers, urging them to support its bid for joining the 48-member club that controls access to sensitive nuclear technology.
The 48-nation NSG held a special meeting in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday to consider applications from the two South Asian nations.
Both New Delhi and Islamabad possess atomic weapons but, aren’t the signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
When it became obvious that China will not allow India to join the NSG, a spokesman for the US State Department urged Pakistan to present its application before the entire group.
When asked why Washington wasn’t backing Pakistan’s application, spokesman, Mark Toner, said, “that’s a collective decision reached by the members of the group.”
He said, “India is also pursuing membership into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but certainly, if Pakistan wants to pursue that, that’s something for all the members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to consider.”
US President Barack Obama, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Tuesday, after the meeting announced that the United States strongly supported India’s bid to join the NSG.
On being suggested that the US position on this issue may further strain already tense relations between India and Pakistan, Toner urged Pakistan to stop terrorists from using its soil to conduct operations inside India.
He was quoted as saying: “We believe that Pakistan and India stand to benefit from practical cooperation and encourage direct dialogue aimed at increasing cooperation and reducing tensions.”
He further said, “And that includes steps by Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to plan attacks in India and that Pakistan takes steps to address or to go after all the terrorist groups that are currently using its territory.”
“I think it’s important for the countries of the region that they all have constructive security relationships with each other. And that’s Pakistan, that’s India, and it’s also Afghanistan,” he said.
(With Agency Inputs)