Key Note Address by Foreign Secretary

Islamabad, October 05, 2017 (PPI-OT):
Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to address this Conference on a subject of great contemporary relevance and significance for Pakistan’s national security. I thank the Centre for International Strategic Studies (CISS) for inviting me as a Keynote speaker.

The international security landscape is far from encouraging. Old conflicts continue to fester as new ones flare up. Differences on perspectives, approaches and modalities, are negatively impacting progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Double standards and exceptionalism are undermining the credibility of the non-proliferation regime. As a result the global nuclear order has come under increasing stress. The order has been further shaken by the recent developments on the Korean peninsula.

Alongside the existing challenges, new threats have arisen in areas such as hostile uses of Outer Space, offensive cyber capabilities, development and use of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) and armed drones, as well as the development of advanced hypersonic systems of global reach.

In the field of nuclear disarmament, the divergence of approaches is marked by two opposing trends.

On the one hand, some Nuclear Weapon States are neither willing to give up their large nuclear arsenals nor their modernization programmes, even as they pursue non-proliferation with messianic zeal. There is dangerous talk of “greatly strengthening and expanding nuclear capabilities” to outmatch potential competitors. In a diametrically opposed move, frustrated by the lack of progress on nuclear disbarment, a group of Non-Nuclear Weapon States are promoting the recently adopted Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (Ban Treaty). This Treaty which was adopted by a vote in the General Assembly, in 7 July 2017, did not fulfill certain essential conditions – both in terms of process and substance.

The First Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Disarmament (SSOD-I), held in 1978, reaffirms the objective of undiminished security for all states at each stage of the disarmament process. The Ban Treaty fails to take into account the vital security considerations of states and the global and regional security environments which have compelled certain states to rely on nuclear deterrence for self-defence. Treaties that do not take on board the interests of all stakeholders fail to achieve their objectives. With all the nuclear possessor states outside its fold, the Ban Treaty is not likely to fare any better.

Pakistan believes that the objective of global nuclear disarmament can only be achieved through the conclusion of a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory, comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons. The Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva remains the most ideal forum for concluding such a convention through a consensus-based process involving all stakeholders.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While the divergences in perspectives and approaches have held back progress on nuclear disarmament, another key challenge to long-held norms and rules is the grant of discriminatory waivers to certain states for political and commercial motives. Such exceptions not only denote double standards but also carry obvious proliferation risks and possibility of diversion of material intended for peaceful uses to military purposes.

Many states continue to pursue policies of nuclear exceptionalism, thus contributing to insecurity and imbalances in certain regions – especially in South Asia. In our neighbourhood, phenomenal rise in military expenditures and expanding nuclear and conventional arsenals pose a grave threat to strategic stability.

In 2008, the NSG countries missed an opportunity to promote simultaneous adherence to agreed benchmarks by both Pakistan and India in return for access to nuclear technology for peaceful uses. A non-discriminatory criteria-based approach would have furthered the non-proliferation objectives of the NSG besides promoting nuclear restraint and strategic stability in South Asia.

With regard to the ongoing issue of NSG membership of non-NPT states, there is growing realization among the Participating Governments that a non-discriminatory criteria-based approach is essential for the credibility of the NSG as a rule-based regime. Several NSG countries and international non-proliferation experts agree that it will not be in the interest of the NSG to create yet another country-specific exemption which sidesteps established rules and non-proliferation standards.

Pakistan, which applied for NSG membership in 2016, remains confident of its credentials to become a part of the export control regime. In addition to our adherence to the NSG Guidelines, we have harmonized our export controls with the standards being followed by the Missile Technology Control Regime and Australia Group. This is a clear manifestation of Pakistan’s strong commitment to non-proliferation. Pakistan accords the highest priority to ensuring fool-proof safety and security mechanisms in chemical, biological and nuclear areas. Over the years, we have put in place extensive physical protection measures, robust Command and Control structures and effective regulatory regimes.

The NSG will benefit from the inclusion of Pakistan which possesses a sizeable civilian nuclear programme and has the potential to supply items on the NSG control lists.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Pakistan is concerned at the security situation in the Korean Peninsula, which has inter alia been exacerbated by the nuclear and missile tests conducted by the DPRK. Pakistan has made its position known on these tests, which are yet another challenge to the nuclear order. These tests underscore the need for strengthening the global norm against nuclear testing. In this regard, regional and global efforts complement each other and should be pursued in parallel.

In the context of South Asia, we would like to draw attention to Pakistan’s proposal for a legally binding bilateral arrangement on non-testing between Pakistan and India. Pakistan has consistently supported the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). We voted for the Treaty when it was adopted in 1996 and have since been voting in favour of the annual General Assembly resolution on CTBT.

The debate on membership criteria for non-NPT states affords yet another opportunity to the NSG Participating Governments to strengthen the norm on non-testing. Besides the proposal for a legally binding bilateral arrangement on non-testing, Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia continues to be on the table should both the nuclear capable states in the region agree to resume their comprehensive dialogue.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Any discussion on the global nuclear order should not be restricted to the security dimension of nuclear technology. Nuclear technology with its extensive peaceful applications has a crucial role in socio-economic development in the developing countries.

Nuclear power generation, which offers a clean form of energy, is essential for energy security of many countries including Pakistan. However, besides nuclear power generation, nuclear technology has vast applications in areas such as health, agriculture, industry and water and food security.

Pakistan has a complete programme for harnessing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It has nuclear power plants, complete nuclear fuel cycle capabilities, research reactors, agriculture and biotechnology research centers, medical and oncology centers, and also industrial applications of nuclear technology. As such, Pakistan can be a significant contributor to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through international cooperation. We, therefore, intend to further strengthen partnerships at the international level, including with UN, IAEA and developing countries, as providers of services and expertise, for civilian nuclear applications.

I would like to conclude by underscoring that the existing challenges to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament need to be addressed collectively on the basis of cooperative multilateralism. As a first step, the fundamental prerequisites for global security need to ascertained. These include:

Recognition of the right to equal security for all states.

The motives which drive states to acquire weapons for self-defence need to be addressed. These include perceived threats from larger conventional or non-conventional forces; existences of disputes and conflicts; and discrimination in application of international norms and laws.
There is a need for evolving criteria-based non-discriminatory approach for the promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with the relevant international obligations of the states.

Pending total elimination of nuclear weapons, provision of legally binding guarantees to non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.

Addressing concerns arising from the development and deployment of destabilizing weapon systems such as Anti-Ballistic Missiles (ABMs).

Strengthening the international legal regime to prevent the militarization of outer space by undertaking negotiations to this effect in the CD.

There is an urgent need to check the development and use of means for cyber warfare, armed drones and Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) to bring them under international regulations.

The regional issues that touch on nuclear and missile aspects require approaches that go beyond the traditional framework of disarmament and non-proliferation. Pakistan supports the fulfilment of their international obligations by all states. We support the creation of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and the Korean peninsula.

Finally, there is an urgent need for the balanced reduction of armed forces and conventional armaments. As laid down in SSOD-I, these negotiations should be conducted with particular emphasis on militarily significant states.

Thank You

For more information, contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tell: +92-51-9205494
Fax: +92-51-9204202
Cell: +92-336-5644459

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