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Pak ready for nuclear non-testing agreement with India Sartaj Aziz

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Islamabad: Pakistan was ready for an agreement with India on bilateral moratorium on nuclear non-testing, said the country’s top diplomat. “We have  declared a unilateral moratorium on further testing. Pakistan is prepared to consider translating its unilateral moratorium into a bilateral arrangement on non-  testing with India,” said the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz.

Briefing the media about the Envoys’ Conference held last week, Aziz said the meeting noted that Pakistan consistently supported the Comprehensive Test  Ban Treaty (CTBT) and voted for it when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996.

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Noting that the conference held detailed talks on the Pakistan’s application for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and regional nuclear stability issue, Aziz  said Pakistan is one of the applicants, along with India, for NSG membership.

“While Pakistan’s formal application for NSG membership was submitted on May 19, 2016, we had been preparing for it for quite some time. Our efforts to  upgrade our export controls, nuclear safety and security long pre-date our application,” he said. He said Pakistan’s candidacy is based on a desire to  strengthen global non-proliferation regimes; the need for strategic stability and level playing field in South Asia; priority for socio economic development and  technological advancement of the country; and capability to supply items on NSG lists Part 1 and 2.

“Our strong lobbying efforts have yielded positive results. Our arguments for criteria-based approach, and the impact of any India-specific exemption on the  strategic stability in South Asia and on the future of non-proliferation regime, have been accepted by several NSG countries,” he said. He said Pakistan is  confident of the merits of its membership application as its export controls were harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Missile  Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Australia Group.

“We have taken extensive measures to strengthen nuclear safety and security. More recently, Pakistan has taken three significant steps i.e. (i) public  statement on nuclear test moratorium, (ii) ratification of the 2005 amendment to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and  (iii) declaring adherence to NSG Guidelines,” Aziz said.

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Aziz said Pakistan is committed not to transfer nuclear weapons to other states or assist others to acquire nuclear weapons and consistently supported the  goal of a nuclear weapons free world through the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament at the Conference on Disarmament. He said the  issue of NSG membership cannot be separated from the consideration of strategic stability in the region.

“We will continue to project Pakistan’s solid credentials based on its technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to non-proliferation,  nuclear safety and security,” he said. He added that Pakistan would formally invite NSG Troika to visit the country for a detailed briefing on its credentials.