Ambassador Munir Akram's statement in the Conference on Disarmament on CTBT, FMCT issues, 30 July, 1998

Mr. President,

At the outset I wish to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. Our session is resuming at what may turn out to be a critical turning point for the process of disarmament and for this Conference. We wish you every success.

2. May I take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for the valuable work by your distinguished predecessor, Ambassador Murat Sungar of Turkey, particularly his intensive efforts to find common ground to initiate work on the item which enjoys the highest priority on our Agenda - Nuclear Disarmament.

Mr. President,

3. The nuclear tests conducted by India, and Pakistan's response, have attracted considerable international attention, including in the Conference on Disarmament. Since the special meeting of the C.D. held on 29 May 1998, the South Asian situation has been discussed by the P-5, the G-8 and the Security Council and other forums. Pakistan has, naturally, noted the Communiques and decisions reached with great care and some concern.

4. We would wish to assert a fundamental point with regard to our nuclear tests. The tests conducted by Pakistan should be evaluated on the basis of the legal and political criteria which the international community has adopted in the CTBT itself.

5. The Treaty recognizes in Article IX, the sovereign right of any State Party to the Treaty to withdraw from it in case of "extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests". Such withdrawal from the CTBT obviously implies that the concerned State would have the right to conduct further nuclear tests. During the negotiations of the CTBT, one State declared, at the highest level, that it would withdraw from the Treaty and resume testing, if its agencies determined that any one type of its nuclear weapons was no longer reliable and required further testing. Surely, nuclear explosions conducted by our adversary were much more "extraordinary", and would have justified withdrawal and testing by Pakistan even if it was a party to the CTBT and if the Treaty was in force. Further, if such a response could be upheld after the CTBT had entered into force, it could certainly be justified in case of the nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan before it had even signed the CTBT.

6. During the CTBT negotiations, my delegation had stated specifically that this was an "all or nothing" Treaty; that if one State continued to test, others could not be expected to refrain from doing so. Article XIV of the Treaty requiring compulsory adherence by 44 States was based on the fundamental presumption of collective and reciprocal restraint by all concerned. Thus, in conducting its nuclear tests in response to India's tests, Pakistan acted in accordance with the norms set out in the CTBT itself.

7. Indeed, when voting in favour of the CTBT in the General Assembly, Pakistan stated quite categorically that if a nuclear test was conducted by another State - we obviously had India in mind - we would be obliged to withdraw from the Treaty and, by implication, to conduct such nuclear tests if so required.

8. Moreover, the nuclear tests conducted by the Indian government were followed by statements asserting that the strategic relationship had been altered, that India would deploy nuclear weapons, that this had implications for the settlement of Kashmir, that India could launch "hot pursuit" attacks across the Line of Control.

9. We could not ignore these belligerent declarations. Our failure to respond to India's nuclear tests could have eroded the delicate psychological judgements which are the essence of deterrence. Any Indian miscalculation regarding Pakistan's capabilities - such as an adventure across the Line of Control or the international border - could have led to disastrous consequences.

10. We believe firmly that, whereas India's nuclear tests destabilized the "existential deterrence" which has operated between India and Pakistan for almost 20 years, Pakistan's tests served to re-establish balance and stability.

11. Our friends should understand that Pakistan was compelled to respond to India's tests. We did not conduct our tests to undermine global non-proliferation; nor do we have the ambition to seek the formal status of a nuclear weapon State; much less do we wish to set a "bad example" for others. Our national security, and the maintenance of mutual deterrence, was at stake. We had no choice but to respond.

Mr. President,

12. We are sad that so many of our friends have not fully appreciated these compulsions and have equated Pakistan with India in their denunciations and punitive actions. This "equal" treatment of India and Pakistan has had an unequal impact - it has hurt Pakistan much more than India.

13. We deeply appreciate China's endeavour to seek a differentiation in the treatment of the "culprit" and the "victim". We warmly welcome the wise resistance by France and some others to the use of sanctions. We also welcome the efforts made by those who were obliged by their laws to apply restraints, to ameliorate their impact, and thus avoid unintended and counterproductive results.

14. Such understanding and gestures have encouraged Pakistan to open a dialogue with all these countries to address the security situation in South Asia. We have held high-level talks with China, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States in the past few weeks. The most recent and substantial dialogue was held between Pakistan's Foreign Secretary, Mr. Shamshad Ahmad, and the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Strobe Talbott, in Islamabad last week.

15. Our ability to engage in such a substantive dialogue has improved in the wake of the strategic review we conducted of our security posture recently in Islamabad. We have examined the positions taken by various friendly countries in the light of these national security conclusions. We do not believe there is a fundamental difference in the approach of the international community and Pakistan to the crisis in South Asia. Pakistan is not interested in a conventional or nuclear arms race with India. We wish to avoid a war; prevent nuclear escalation; promote conventional stability; lower tensions, and resolve the Kashmir dispute - the root cause of Indo-Pakistan problems. Moreover, Pakistan does not wish to contribute, in any way, to the further spread of nuclear weapons or sensitive technologies.

16. We have concluded that a situation of mutual deterrence now exists between India and Pakistan. Pakistan will seek to maintain this situation of deterrence in the future. The level at which this is maintained will be determined in accordance with any escalatory steps taken by India.

17.  Pakistan is not interested in further escalation up the nuclear ladder with India. Our interest is to maintain the nuclear deterrence which has been established at the lowest possible level. To maintain deterrence, Pakistan needs to ensure that it is not in a position of strategic vulnerability in certain areas - such as fissile materials and ballistic missiles.

18. A most immediate requirement for the preservation of the situation of nuclear deterrence is to convince India not to proceed with its threat to operationalise its nuclear weapons in the form of weaponised deployment of ballistic missiles and other delivery systems. We note that this is also a priority objective of the P-5 and G-8 countries.

19. Pakistan agrees that a halt in further tests is essential. It will serve to hold back the nuclear arms race in South Asia. Pakistan has declared a unilateral moratorium on nuclear tests. We are prepared to formalize a bilateral test ban agreement with India.

20. As regards the CTBT, it should be recalled that Pakistan supported the CTBT's endorsement in the CD and voted for the Treaty in the UN General Assembly. With a proven capability to establish deterrence, Pakistan's position on the CTBT is no longer linked to our neighbours. Our decision on adherence to the CTBT will depend on the evolution of our dialogue with friends and of a domestic consensus as well as assurance against the possibility of further nuclear testing by India.

Mr. President,

21. Pakistan has consistently believed that a ban on the production of fissile materials should be promoted through a universal and non-discriminatory Treaty negotiated in the C.D., and not through unilateral measures.

22. During discussions in Islamabad last week, Pakistan and the United States agreed to support the immediate commencement of negotiations on a non-discriminatory, universal and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. To this end, Pakistan will join the United States and other CD members in promoting a decision for the establishment, at this session, of an Ad hoc Committee of the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate such a Treaty on the basis of the report and mandate contained in document CD/1299, dated 24 March 1995 (The Shannon Report).

23. In the course of the negotiations in the Ad hoc Committee, Pakistan will, as envisaged in the Shannon Report, raise its concerns about and seek a solution to the problem of unequal stockpiles.

24. We believe that a wide disparity in fissile material stockpiles of India and Pakistan could erode the stability of nuclear deterrence. The impact of such asymmetry could be further exacerbated once India acquires the S-300 ABM Systems and additional anti-aircraft systems from the Russian Federation.

Mr. President,

25. The stability of mutual deterrence in South Asia may also be adversely affected by asymmetry in conventional weapons capabilities between India and Pakistan. This asymmetry is growing steadily due to Pakistan's economic difficulties, the embargoes still maintained against us by some major powers and the massive arms acquisitions which India is making, particularly from Russia. We hope that concerted action will be adopted by the international community to redress this conventional inequality which will inevitably intensify Pakistan's reliance on its nuclear capabilities.

Mr. President,

26. Pakistan continues to adhere to its policy of not exporting sensitive nuclear technology or equipment. We are prepared to discuss the administrative and regulatory measures to implement this policy. This process should promote non-discrimination and reciprocal benefits. We cannot be simultaneously considered a partner and a target of non-proliferation regimes.

Mr. President,

27. Kashmir holds the key to resolve the current security crisis in South Asia and is the fundamental issue influencing nuclear decision making by both Pakistan and India. India's rhetoric about the `China threat' (later even a U.S. threat!) is designed to deflect attention from the real designs. Before assuming charge of Kashmir Affairs, Home Minister Advani was honest enough to echo India's real objectives when he asked Pakistan to realize the change in the geo-strategic situation as a result of India's bold and decisive steps to become a nuclear power. He claimed that India was thus in a position to find a solution to the Kashmir problem by dealing with Pakistan firmly and strongly.

28. Kashmir has been recognized by the P-5 and others as the fundamental issue, integral to a resolution of the crisis in South Asia and with implications for international peace and security. This is welcome, though overdue. It will not be enough merely to "lower tensions" over Kashmir. This would be of transient value. There must be genuine progress towards the resolution of the dispute.

29. For its part, Pakistan wishes to resume the bilateral Foreign Secretaries level talks as proposed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his Indian counterpart at the Colombo Summit. The international community must urge India to agree to the setting up of the 8 working groups in accordance with the Islamabad Agreement.

30. Pakistan realizes that the process of seeking a solution to the Kashmir dispute will be painstaking. But, progress on Kashmir is essential to sustain the entire Indo-Pakistan dialogue and lower tensions, even if this is gradual. In this context, Pakistan is willing to discuss various Confidence Building-Measures, such as the strengthening of UNMOGIP, with authority to patrol on both sides of the LoC, and submission of regular reports to the UN Security Council; removal of Indian army pickets in Srinagar and other Kashmiri towns and villages; Partial withdrawal of Indian troops from IHK's towns and villages to Cantonments; cessation of search/arrest operations; stationing of ICRC and UN human rights monitors in IHK and recognition of All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC) as legitimate Kashmiri representatives.

Mr. President,

31. For over twenty years, Pakistan has persisted in drawing the attention of the international community to the incendiary ingredients for peace and proliferation in South Asia. Our warning that South Asia was the "most dangerous place in the world" were persistently ignored. Our demarches regarding the cruel war being waged by India in Kashmir, which could become a nuclear flashpoint, were brushed aside. Our proposals for non-proliferation were politely supported but studiously sidelined.

32. It is Pakistan's sincere hope the international community will remain actively engaged in overcoming the crisis created by India's nuclear tests and provocative actions. It is only through a determined and sustained international endeavour that war can be avoided; tensions reduced; stability restored; proliferation stemmed, and the underlying disputes resolved.

33. At the same time, peace and security in South Asia cannot be promoted and sustained on the basis of discrimination and double standards. Those who advocate non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament must themselves be seen to practice this. The call for nuclear restraint - in South Asia and elsewhere - is based on the moral objection to nuclear weapons as an unacceptable instrument of power. Pakistan fully supports the G-21's position that nuclear disarmament is the issue of highest priority for this Conference and that an Ad hoc Committee should be established immediately to undertake negotiations on the steps forwards nuclear disarmament that have been so clearly identified by the G-21 and other eminent Councils and Commissions.

Thank you, Mr. President.