NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — On May 20, Pakistan applied to join the NSG, claiming it could meet the nuclear proliferation-reducing body's standards. Earlier, India, which has strained relations with Pakistan, submitted its application to join the NSG and gained support of a number of countries, including the United States.
"Pakistan’s desire to participate in the NSG stands on solid grounds of technical experience, capability and well-established commitment to nuclear safety. Pakistan has operated secure and safeguarded nuclear power plants for over 42 years… Pakistan remains ready to continue its constructive engagement with the United States and international community at large as a mainstream partner in the non-proliferation arrangements," the ambassador's letter, obtained by the Dawn newspaper, reads.
The NSG comprises 48 nuclear material-producing countries. The body is one of the chief tools for controlling the exports and proliferation of materials that could potentially be used in making weapons of mass destruction, as well as tackling the black market trade of nuclear technologies.
Pakistan is one of the world's nine states that possess nuclear weapons. It conducted its first nuclear test in 1998, and has a stockpile of some 120 warheads, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.