Islamabad, June 23:

In a marked change of stance, Pakistan on Thursday said it has urged the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to consider the entry applications of both Islamabad and New Delhi “simultaneously” and in an “even-handed manner” keeping in view the region’s strategic stability.


Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, to a question on Islamabad lobbying against New Delhi’s bid, said: “The Foreign Office has urged the NSG to consider entry applications of Pakistan and India simultaneously, and in an even-handed manner, keeping in view the region’s strategic stability.

He said that Pakistan is also urging the NSG members to “maintain an impartial attitude while deciding about Pakistan and India.”

“It has been our consistent position that the NSG membership for the non-NPT states must be dealt with in accordance with a single, uniform, non discriminatory and a fair criteria,” he added.

He said Pakistan has “strong credentials” to become member of the 48-member NSG and that Islamabad’s membership, in fact, was in the interest of the nuclear trading countries as it will further promote the non proliferation objectives.

The response is in contrast to that of Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz who on Tuesday told the National Assembly that Islamabad was “making successful efforts” against New Delhi’s membership bid.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that India was “not opposed” to Pakistan’s entry to the 48-nation bloc.

India and Pakistan have both applied for the NSG membership and both are lobbying with member nations to seek support for their bids. Pakistan’s all-weather friend China has been consistently opposing India’s bid for NSG membership but has supported Islamabad’s entry to the club. (IANS)