Despite threats, Pakistan committed to goal of peaceful South Asia: Munir Akram

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 27 (APP): Pakistan Monday told the United Nations that it had made several proposals for keeping South Asia free of nuclear weapons following India’s first nuclear in 1974, but regretted none of them drew a favourable response.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the ‘International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons’, Ambassador Munir Akram reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world that is achieved in a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory manner, with assurances of undiminished security for all States.

“Despite continuing provocations and threats,” Ambassador Akram said, “Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a peaceful and stable South Asia,” pointing out that Islamabad, over two decades, proposed a number of initiatives to promote peace and security and prevent the emergence of nuclear weapons in South Asia. But, he said, none of those proposals elicited a positive response.

The event was held as the high-level annual debate in the UN General Assembly Hall came to an end.

“In South Asia, nuclear weapons capability was introduced by one state in 1974,” the Pakistani envoy said, without naming India.

“That state also initiated the South Asia nuclear weapons explosions in 1998. Pakistan was compelled to follow suit in order to restore strategic stability and deter the aggression with which Pakistan was threatened immediately after our neighbor’s nuclear weapons explosions of 11th May 1998.”

Following the South Asia nuclear tests, he said, Pakistan proposed the establishment of a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) in South Asia, to be premised on three interlocking and mutually reinforcing elements of conflict resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and conventional arms balance.

“The proposal remains on the table,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s security policy continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility and avoidance of a mutually debilitating arms race in the region.

Backing all international efforts seeking to promote fair and equitable solutions to disarmament and non-proliferation challenges, the Pakistani envoy said, adding that meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament can only be achieved through fulfillment of the obligations undertaken by leading nuclear weapon states; resisting global or regional dominance by any state or group of states; addressing the threats to peace and security; resolving outstanding regional conflicts; building structures of regional stability; Avoiding military blocs; and, ensuring equal security for all States.

At the outset, Ambassador Akram referred to a number of global challenges — including Covid-19 pandemic, climate crisis; proliferating conflicts; expanding military blocs; new arms race and deployment of huge arsenals of advanced conventional and strategic weapons, Ambassador Akram said that the world security and disarmament regimes were in danger of collapse under the weight of these development.

“The danger of nuclear war is today closer than it has been since the (1962) Cuban missile crisis,” he noted.

“Discriminatory approaches, double standards and selectivity in the application of global norms not only weaken global disarmament efforts; they also undermine the non- proliferation regime and the international order based on the principles of the UN Charter and International Law.”