On December 6, 2016, Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi, the former chair of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), presented a proposal consisting of nine points for NSG membership that may accommodate non-NPT states like Pakistan and India. While it was generally viewed as a positive step that the membership of both nations was being concurrently considered, the fine print of the proposals seemed to be excluding Pakistan, and as expected Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria soon after termed the proposal “clearly discriminatory”.

Pakistani think tanks and strategic research bodies have chimed in with this view, and it is clear to see why. The proposals list several preconditions to be met before both countries can be admitted into the NSG, and as it stands India has fulfilled them while Pakistan would have to spend further time and effort in doing so. Considering India already has a special wavier with the NSG - pushed for by the United States government - it does seem the conditions have been specifically designed to keep Pakistan out while paving India’s way. The crucial point here is that even if such discrimination was not the intention of the proposal, the biased and politically motivated way with which countries like the United States have pushed India’s case have made the membership a strictly conditional thing. Either it is complete parity for either nations, or none at all. Any small benefit to India will be perceived to be the continuation of a discriminatory policy in Pakistan.

Hence the key component of the proposal - that both non-NPT states do not block the applications of the other - would probably fail. This is not to say that Pakistan has a fundamental problem with the preconditions. Pakistan has already fulfilled some of them - such as separating civilian and military nuclear facilities - while it is ready to comply with the other ones - such as signing additional International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) protocols.

While we can hope that both nations refrain from further nuclear testing - another criteria - guaranteeing it is another matter; just days ago India tested it’s new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of carrying nuclear warheads as far as 6,000 Km away. While this is not exactly a nuclear warhead test, it’s purpose and its significance is not far away.

However these missile tests have no bearing on the Grossi criteria, while Pakistan’s technical failings do. These proposals need to be adjusted to include these considerations, and ultimately both nations need to be given equal access.