Mainstreaming a nuclear Pakistan

It is in India’s interest to ensure that Pakistan’s nukes are under international supervision

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) poses with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during their meeting in New York on September 27, 2015.


Simply put, what is Nuclear Deal ?

A nuclear deal is primarily about undertaking responsibilities and the constant demonstration of good behaviour in exchange for an ability to engage in nuclear commerce and energy production.

What should New Delhi’s response be to a potential nuclear deal between US and Pakistan ?

  • The NSG has been organising outreach meetings with Pakistan regarding nuclear exports for sometime now.
  • Pakistan has reached out to the international community to help end its status as a nuclear outcast and to be treated on par with India.
  • At the Hague Nuclear Security Summit in March 2014, PM Nawaz Sharif called for “Pakistan’s inclusion in all international export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group.”
  • Pakistan also holds the key to the commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) at the Conference on Disarmament.

With Strong Chinese support to Pak

  • China, whose consent is necessary for admitting new members to the NSG, has consistently supported Pakistan’s entry into the NSG.
  • The Chinese willingness today to consider membership for both India and Pakistan will influence the thinking in Washington and key Western capitals.

Critics of the U.S.-Pakistan Nuke deal

  • Firstly, Pakistan has a terrible track record of nuclear proliferation and that a nuclear deal would be seen as rewarding such irresponsible behaviour.
  • Two, it would enable Pakistan to enhance its nuclear arsenal which, is directed against India, making the latter more insecure.
  • Third, U.S.-Pakistan nuclear deal will hyphenate India and Pakistan once again in the international discourse, something New Delhi viscerally detests.

Four sets of reasons why a ‘conditional nuclear deal’, in India’s national interest.

  • First of all, Pakistan’s admission to the global nuclear order is good news for the international non-proliferation regime.
  • Second, It is better for the international community to be in the know of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
  • More importantly, It will bring the Sino-Pak. nuclear relations under international scrutiny.
  • Third, if India’s experience of inking the nuclear deal with the U.S. and other states, signing the India-specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, the road to nuclear normalcy is not going to be a smooth one for Islamabad.

Pakistan should meet conditions

  • For one, Separation of its civilian and military facilities, leading to a less feverish production of fissile material by Pakistan, thereby producing fewer nuclear warheads.
  • Second, some restrictions on its weapons programme, materially and doctrinally.
  • Third, Pakistan will have to give up its opposition to FMCT negotiations as a precondition for the deal.

What about India’s National Security Interest ?

A U.S.-Pakistan civilian nuclear deal will make absolutely no difference to India’s national security interests.

We must, ask the U.S. and other stakeholders to press Islamabad to stop stalling the FMCT negotiations, and agree to a nuclear ‘No-first-use’ agreement with India, which is already part of the Indian doctrine.

India should insist that Pakistan, as part of the deal, should be asked to negotiate nuclear confidence building measures (CBMs) with India without linking them to conventional arms control.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-Pakistan
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