Pakistan says India-US atomic deal could fuel nuclear escalation


United Nations : Voicing deep concern over the Indo-US nuclear deal and India’s massive acquisition of arms, Pakistan said Tuesday that these developments could jeopardise the efforts to promote stability in South Asia and lead to fueling nuclear escalation in the region.

Support TwoCircles

“We are equally concerned by assertions of India’s ‘right’ to conduct further nuclear weapons tests,” Ambassador Masood Khan told the UN General Assembly’s main committee, which opened its general debate on disarmament-related agenda items on Monday.

At the same time, he made it clear that Pakistan would take necessary steps to ensure minimum credible deterrence, the basis of its strategic posture.

“Pakistan has persevered in its endeavour to maintain peace and stability in South Asia at the lowest level of armaments,” said Masood Khan, who is Pakistan’s permanent representative at UN’s Euuropean offices in Geneva.

Pakistan’s longstanding pursuit of a nuclear-weapon-free zone was thwarted by India’s nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, to which Islamabad responded to maintain mutual deterrence. Soon after the tests, he added, Pakistan proposed to India the establishment of a Strategic Restraint Regime, which would encompass conflict resolution, nuclear and missile restraint and a balance in conventional forces.

Although the proposal was not accepted, he said Pakistan had since 2004 pursued a composite dialogue with India which includes addressing the Kashmir dispute and peace and security. Several CBMs (confidence-building measures) have been concluded, including for prior notification of missile tests and measures to prevent the accidental use of nuclear weapons.

Pakistan had the legitimate right to meet its growing need for energy using nuclear technology, Masood Khan said. It would establish its new nuclear facility under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and would promote legitimate and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Masood Khan said Pakistan was now working on a separate new law to implement the Biological Weapons Convention. It was convinced that negotiation of the United States-India agreement had led to a discriminatory and one-sided arrangement, and would fuel nuclear proliferation in the area.

“This agreement has been seen by many as eroding the non-proliferation regime and introducing discrimination against States parties to the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty).”

He said the international community needed a new disarmament architecture and a new consensus on international security, requiring a revival of commitment to collective security based on equity, balance restraint and cooperation among States.

The Pakistan representative said the consensus should be based on several pillars, including an international commitment by all States, and a commitment by the nuclear Powers to complete disarmament within a specified time frame.

The consensus also required, among other features, security guarantees for non-nuclear-weapon States, promotion of measures to prevent acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and non-State actors, and agreement to address the emerging threats posed by missile systems and the militarisation of outer space.

On Iran, he hoped that the dialogue between Iran and the IAEA will help to resolve outstanding issues and create confidence that Iran’s nuclear programme is indeed peaceful. The process of dialogue should accommodate the legitimate rights and the interests of all parties.

“A resort to further coercion or worse, the use of force, will be counter-productive and lead to further and grave instability and insecurity in the Middle East and beyond. It could also jeopardize the bright economic prospects of the entire region,” the Pakistan representative added.