Statement by Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Geneva at Thematic Debate on clusters 1-4 First Committee (12 October 2021)

Islamabad, October 13, 2021 (PPI-OT): Mr. Chairman, The global arms control order is in a state of virtual demise. There are deep divisions in approaches, perspectives and priorities across the entire spectrum, says a press release received here today from New York.

This breakdown is evident in several ways. Arms races, weaponization and integration across nuclear, outer space, cyber, conventional and AI domains are in full swing. Long-standing rules and norms are being eroded through discriminatory policies. Consequently, political and military tensions, strategic asymmetries and nuclear dangers are growing.

Many of these troubling trends are manifest in South Asia where the largest State, driven by its pursuit of regional hegemony and aided by generous supplies of conventional and non-conventional weaponry, continues to operationalize dangerous doctrines.

Mr. Chairman, The nuclear domain continues to witness regression. Nuclear disarmament obligations remain largely unfulfilled. Despite assertions of fissile material production moratoria and a? Misguided zeal for FMCT, some nuclear weapon states are modernizing and increasing their nuclear arsenals.

An effective global nuclear arms control regime requires compliance with existing legal obligations by nuclear weapon states; commencement of negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear weapons convention, an international instrument on negative security assurances and pursuit of a fissile material treaty that clearly stipulates stockpiles in its scope.

Mr. Chairman, The Conventions prohibiting Biological and Chemical Weapons have made important contributions. Yet, the scientific and technological advancements have heightened risks of misuse of chemistry and biology by non-state actors.

The sanctity of the CWC regime must be preserved. Attempts to distort the OPCW’s mandate through political manoeuvring must be avoided. Early and complete destruction of declared as well as abandoned chemical weapons must be ensured. Proliferation concerns should not be advanced to impede peaceful uses of chemistry and biology.

UNSC resolution 1540 was an interim measure designed to fill a perceived gap in international law. It is time to transform it into an international treaty negotiated with the inclusive participation of states.

The Russian proposal to negotiate an international convention on suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism deserves serious consideration. Mr. Chairman, Outer Space has emerged as a new realm of conflict, weaponization and arms race. We are increasingly concerned by threats posed by anti-satellite capabilities to regional and global stability as well as to the long-term sustainability of outer space.

The potential integration of Anti-Ballistic Missile systems and their components into space assets adds another worrying dimension. The existing gaps in Outer Space Treaty have grave security implications. They need to be plugged by concluding a treaty that comprehensively prohibits the threat or use of force against outer space objects and weaponization of outer space.

Notwithstanding the partial value of TCBMs, such voluntary measures cannot substitute for treaty-based legal obligations. Mr. Chairman, There are several worrying trends on the conventional weapons horizon. Global military expenditures and international trade in conventional arms have reached unprecedented levels.

Despite clear gains after the end of cold war and strong normative support by the General Assembly, there is clear regression in conventional arms control at the regional and sub-regional levels. South Asia bears witness to deliberate stalling of Pakistan’s long-standing proposals for conventional balance in forces and armaments.

Despite the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty, huge conventional arms continue to be transferred in volatile regions, fuelling conflicts and entailing huge human costs. The increasing interplay of advanced conventional weapons and technologies with strategic capabilities is eroding strategic stability in South Asia.

Mr. Chairman, The development and potential deployment of autonomous weapons carries serious ramifications for international humanitarian law as well as regional and international peace and security. It is therefore critical for the 6th Review Conference of CCW later this year establish a robust, forward looking and comprehensive process on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS).

During this session, Pakistan will present its traditional draft resolution on conventional arms control, conventional CBMs and Regional Disarmament. We look forward to their adoption with the widest possible support.

Mr. Chairman, to counter the growing challenges to the international arms control order, concerted efforts are needed, especially by nuclear weapon states. This requires demonstration of political will, pursuit of cooperative multilateralism and adherence to the fundamental principles of UN charter and SSOD-I. Equity, non-discrimination and faithful adherence to long-standing rules and norms is vital.

A new international arms control order needs to be evolved by: one, addressing the security concerns of all states; two, fulfilling nuclear disarmament obligations, three, advancing conventional arms control, four, strengthening the non-proliferation regime by shunning double standards; five, legally-binding negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states; six, concluding legally-binding instrument to fill the gaps in the international legal regime on outer space; and seven by ensuring that new and emerging technologies are not utilized to undermine regional or global strategic stability.

I thank you.

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