ISLAMABAD: A stalemate at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) over Pakistani and Indian membership applications is likely to continue at the upcoming plenary of the 48-member nuclear cartel. Switzerland is hosting the next NSG plenary scheduled for mid-June. “Given the diverse issues, stalemate on applications of India and Pakistan is likely to continue for foreseeable future. I don’t see any change in the positions taken by US and China on the issue and as long as that is the case, there is no chance of consensus emerging on the issue,” Pakistan’s former permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva Zamir Akram said. He was speaking at a roundtable on ’27th NSG Plenary Meeting: Challenges and Prospects’ at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), a think tank specialising in strategic stability issues. Both Pakistan and India have not signed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which forms an important consideration for membership to the NSG. The issue of admission on non-NPT states was taken up at last year’s plenary in Seoul, but no consensus could be reached because of sharp divisions among the members over the criteria for accepting such countries in its folds. Seoul Plenary had decided to continue discussions on “technical, legal and political aspects of the participation of non-NPT states in the NSG”. NSG, it should be recalled, takes decisions through consensus. The NSG chair later appointed Ambassador Rafael Mariano Grossi of Argentina as a facilitator for discussions among the NSG members and he presented certain proposals that came to be known as ‘Grossi formula’. Several NSG member countries rejected the formula and Pakistan also expressed its reservations over it, as it affected its membership application. Akram said the procedure through which Grossi formula was prepared and its substance was problematic. “Number of countries objected to very blatant and very obvious slant in Grossi proposals, which were designed to favour India and go against Pakistan,” he said. He said the Grossi formula was now dead “for procedural and substantive reasons”. Akram said that up to 25 countries, other than China, were defying US pressure and insisting on a two-step approach for admission of non-NPT states and development of an objective and equitable criteria that would be applicable to all applicants. He said that aggressive diplomatic outreach by Pakistan had resulted in greater realisation among NSG countries about the likely implications of any further exception for India. He was of the view that the US and its allies who wanted to give an open entry to India into NSG were blocking Pakistan because they wanted to deny it the legitimacy that comes with NSG membership. Wasim Qutub, speaking on the occasion, emphasised that a criteria-based NSG membership would be a mutually beneficial proposition. He cautioned that unilaterally admitting India would have serious consequences for strategic stability in South Asia, as it would accelerate arms race in the region. SVI President Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema said that India’s alone entry into NSG would put back Pakistani efforts for developing its infrastructure and industry by decades, besides having serious consequences for national security and economic and industrial development. He observed that the world in its obsession for India should not forget that India was one of the worst “nuclear proliferators”. He called upon the government to proactively continue diplomatic engagements with the NSG member countries over the issue of admission of non-NPT states.