Pakistan calls for making global non-proliferation regime fair, equitable

Updated April 18, 2018

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Pakistan’s former ambassador to the UN Munir Akram speaks at the seminar.—Online
Pakistan’s former ambassador to the UN Munir Akram speaks at the seminar.—Online

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan continues to remain engaged with global non-proliferation regime despite its politicisation and other defects and calls for making the regime fair and equitable.

Speaking at a seminar at the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) on Tuesday, retired Lt Gen Mazhar Jamil, who retired as the director general of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) a few months ago, said: “There is a concern that the non-proliferation regime is becoming increasingly politicised and discriminatory. Despite these abnormalities in the nuclear order, Pakistan remains positively engaged.”

The statement follows last week’s meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s consultative group that deliberated on the criteria for admitting non-NPT countries into the 48-member cartel controlling the international nuclear trade. Stalemate on the issue of admission of non-NPT countries persisted at the last meeting of the consultative group.

The US is spearheading India’s campaign for inclusion in the group and contends that after attaining membership of other multilateral export control regimes like Missile Techno­logy Control Regime (MTCR), Australia Group, and Wassenaar Agreement Indian case is ripe for membership. However, a small albeit depleted group is holding out preventing consensus on new admissions.

Pakistan believes that key decisions at NSG, like admission of new members, are politicised. The decisions instead of following an equitable and non-discriminatory approach are motivated by geo-political considerations.

Gen Mazhar Jamil said: “Pakistan does what it can, the non-proliferation regime should also do what it must to become equitable and rule-based.”

He recalled that Pakistan had voluntarily committed itself to the ideals such as non-proliferation and prevention of arms race in outer space. “Pakistan is a responsible nuclear power and shall continue to exercise restraint and responsibility,” he added.

Speaking about the regional situation, he asked India to “shun belligerence and war-mongering and resolve disputes peacefully”.

Comparing the Indian strategic thinking with that of Pakistan, the former SPD chief said Pakistan’s strategic culture, in contrast, “has always been characterised by restrained responses, pursuit of conflict resolution and closing the space for war”.

SVI president Dr Zafar Iqbal Cheema, on the occasion, said Indian National Security Strategy (NSS) objective was to maintain an overwhelming conventional and nuclear weapons capability by developing strategic and conventional offensive capabilities for full spectrum of military conflicts.

The main instruments of India’s force posture were deterrence, coercion and coercive diplomacy, he said. The joint Indian armed forces doctrine contemplated the use of military force aimed at destruction, disruption and constraining its adversaries in South Asia, with specific concentration on Pakistan, he added.

Meanwhile, the Strategic Studies Institute Islamabad hosted a Public Talk on “The 2018 US Nuclear Posture Review (NPR): Global and Regional Security”.

Ambassador Munir Akram said that although South Asia had not been mentioned in the NPR, the region had been covered in the context of non-proliferation.

The NPR, which endorses nuclear modernisation and sustenance programme of the US, he believed, would trigger arms race and also increase greater likelihood of use of weapons. He said the NPR would affect Iran and North Korea.

Director General Strat­egic Studies Dr Shireen Mazari said Pakistan had increasingly become the target of US criticism, especially in the context of its nuclear weapon. She reiterated that Pakistan should remain wary of the US-India strategic partnership.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2018