UNITED NATIONS, Mar 3 (APP): Pakistan has reaffirmed its opposition to a treaty banning production of fissile material used as fuel for nuclear
weapons, saying such a move would have an adverse impact on strategic stability in South Asia.
Speaking in a U.N. panel’s informal meeting, Pakistani delegate Yasar Ammar emphasized that that a universally acceptable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) would have to avoid discrimination between the different nuclear weapon possessing states.
“There should be no preferential treatment for any country in terms of existing stocks,” he told the meeting convened by the chairperson of the High-level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group. “The treaty should lead to equal and undiminished security for all states.”
Ammar, who is a counselor at the Pakistan Mission to the UN, said that a treaty which only results in a cut-off in the production of fissile material, would jeopardize Pakistan’s security unless it addresses the vast asymmetries in existing stocks of fissile material.
” cut-off only treaty would freeze the status quo to our permanent disadvantage and negatively affect strategic stability in South Asia”, the Pakistani delegate said.
The situation, he said, has been further compounded by the exercise of “double standards” in the application of non-proliferation norms for the sake of political expediency and economic benefits.
“It is manifest in the conclusion of discriminatory bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreements, the grant of inequitable waivers, and the continued pursuit of the creation of additional country-specific exceptions in the nonproliferation and multilateral export control regimes. These discriminatory measures endanger regional strategic stability in South Asia”, he added.
Explaining the reasons for Pakistan’s developing a nuclear deterrence capability, Ammar said that unfortunately it had to face three major wars within the first 25 years of its existence. and added, “Facing overwhelming conventional military dominance, and the failure of the international community either to resolve the underlying disputes or to guarantee the security and inviolability of our borders, Pakistan was left with no option, but to develop a nuclear deterrence capability in the interest of maintaining peace and stability in South Asia”.
Pakistan voted against U.N> General Assembly resolution about a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Pakistan did not participate in the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on FMCT that worked during 2014-15 and will not participate in the 25-member High Level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group that is being established pursuant to this resolution.
Pakistan, he said, participated in today’s meeting to elaborate on the rationale behind its position.
In this regard, the Pakistani delegate cited the 193-mmber Assembly’ s document which read, “in the adoption of disarmament measures, the right of each state to security should be kept in mind”. He argued that any arms control, non-proliferation or disarmament treaty that does not meet this principle would be a non-starter as evidenced by the failure of the FMCT negotiations to kick off. “No country can be expected to enter into negotiations on a treaty that would be detrimental to its national security”, he added.
However, Ammar expressed readiness to consider a treaty on fissile material that covers existing stocks or past production. ” We believe that such a treaty would be in our interest, as it would address our insecurities arising from the asymmetries in national fissile material holdings”, he explained.
In order to be effective, he said, the treaty should be free of any loopholes by encompassing all types of fissile materials that can be used in nuclear weapons. The treaty, added, should provide a robust verification mechanism entrusted to a representative and independent treaty body.
The treaty should not only promote both regional and global strategic stability but it should also not affect the inalienable right of all states to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the Pakistani delegate said in conclusion.