In a blow to Pakistan’s ambitions of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the United States of America has imposed sanctions on seven Pakistani companies on suspicions of having links with the nuclear trade. The US Bureau of Industry and Security imposed the sanctions on the 22nd of March by placing the companies on its “Entity List”. Inclusion in the list is considered the “highest level of red-flag” in the US export control regime.
The Bureau said in a report that the companies were “determined by the U.S. government to be acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” The companies will now be suffering strict controls on its exports which could prevent it from conducting international trade. Three of seven companies have been listed for “their involvement in the proliferation of non-safeguarded nuclear activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy interests of the United States”.
The relationship between the two countries has been in turmoil ever since Donald Trump assumed the seat of the President of the United States in 2017. Not too long ago, the Trump administration had blocked security aid worth over a billion dollars after the POTUS accused Pakistan of providing safe haven to terrorists. Consistent with Donald Trump’s approach towards Pakistan, the relationship between India and the USA has continued improving. The recent move by the US government to impose sanctions on the Pakistani companies could improve India’s chances of joining the NSG as well.