Lodhi points to ‘nuclear doublespeak’ at UN

5 Apr

UNITED NATIONS – Pakistan has told the United Nations that peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without resolving underlying disputes, agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint and instituting conventional forces balance.

“Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race (in South Asia),” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said in a speech to the UN Disarmament Commission, while pointing out that Pakistan’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime, based on those three inter-locking elements, remains on the table.

The Pakistani envoy said that the Commission, a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, was meeting against a turbulent global security backdrop.

The negative trends in the disarmament and non-proliferation landscape were due largely to the lack of progress on the part of nuclear-weapon States in fulfilling their legal nuclear disarmament obligations, and could be further impeded by recent vows by some such States to “greatly strengthen and expand nuclear capabilities, Maleeha added.

Another key challenge was the granting of discriminatory waivers to some, and making exceptions for power or profit reasons, all of which constituted nuclear double standards and opened up the risk of diversion of materials intended for peaceful uses to military purposes, she said. Noting that many States — in particular in South Asia — continued to pursue those policies, with military expenditures rising and conventional weapons inventories expanding, she said.

“Disruption of strategic stability in South Asia by induction of nuclear weapons in our neighbourhood fundamentally challenged my country’s security,” an obvious reference to the 1974 Indian nuclear test. “We were left with no option but to follow suit in order to restore strategic stability in the region and deter all forms of aggression.”

Indeed, Pakistan had made a number of proposals to keep South Asia free of such weapons but none had elicited a positive response, she said.

Outlining a number of factors to guide States to consensus in the Commission, she said that agreement must proceed from the universally recognised premise that security was indivisible and based on the right of all States to equal security, both in the conventional and non-conventional fields. Maleeha Lodhi also emphasised the discriminatory nature of the proposed fissile material cut-off treaty and the urgency of providing legally binding assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

“As envisaged at present, a cut-off only treaty would freeze the status quo to our permanent disadvantage and negatively affect strategic stability in South Asia,” she told the delegates that Pakistan had the requisite credentials and expertise to be part of international export control bodies and has, therefore, as a first step, sought membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“As the NSG deliberates on the legal, technical and political aspects of membership of non-NPT countries, it must establish and adhere to a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria that ensures equal treatment of non-NPT applicants for the Group’s membership,” she added.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper on 05-Apr-2017.

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