H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, Remarks in the General Debate of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security).

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I congratulate you and the Bureau members on assuming office and assure you of our full cooperation. Your efforts to advance the work of this august body despite the prevailing constraints are commendable. We also thank the Secretariat for its support.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by NAM.

We are meeting at a moment of crisis. COVID-19 has resulted in over a million fatalities and endangered the lives of many more. The world economy is in the biggest recession since the Great Depression.

A global crisis should have brought humanity together. But, the international community has so far failed to see the common danger. Instead, the pandemic has revealed all the fault lines and accentuated the existing and emerging threats to international and peace and security.

At the global level, there is an emergence of new rivalries and resurgence of old conflicts. Tensions between major States are rising, and progress on disarmament and international stability is being reversed. Key arms-control agreements are being undermined. Some states are contemplating lowering the threshold of nuclear testing. Global non-proliferation norms have eroded. A qualitative arms race, characterized by the development of deadlier, more sophisticated weapons is underway.

Emerging technologies are expanding the frontiers of warfare, from cyber sphere to outer space, from weaponization of Artificial Intelligence to novel types of delivery systems.

Strategic competition between big powers, the pursuit of military dominance by some States, and the unilateral use of force and intervention, have gravely jeopardized international peace and security.

The aggressive policies and military posture of the largest state in South Asia – ruled now by a neo-fascist regime – pose an immediate and pervasive threat to international peace and security.

In February 2019, India committed blatant aggression against Pakistan with its in-fructuous aerial incursion and subsequent exchanges, resulting in the loss of two of its aircraft. As a goodwill gesture, Pakistan’s Prime Minister returned the captured Indian pilot. Unfortunately, this was misconstrued as weakness and India’s posture only grew more aggressive.

On 5 August 2019, India took unilateral measures to change the status of the disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir, inducted an additional 200,000 troops, bringing the size of its occupation army to 900,000. India has since imposed a military siege in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, with the design to annex the occupied territory, change its demography through illegal immigration, and deny its people their right to self-determination, as prescribed by the resolutions of the Security Council.

All political leaders were jailed; 13,000 youth abducted and many tortured; peaceful protests were violently put down; collective punishments imposed, with the destruction of entire villages and neighbourhoods; and hundreds of innocent Kashmiri youth murdered in fake extra-judicial killings.

Along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian forces resort to artillery and small arms fire every day, targeting innocent civilians on our side. There were over 3,000 ceasefire violations in 2019 and over 2,400 this year, so far.

Such daily military provocations are accompanied by repeated threats of aggression by India’s political and military leaders. Pakistan has acted with restraint to these provocations and threats. But, as we demonstrated in February 2019, Pakistan will respond decisively and effectively to any Indian aggression with the full force of our capabilities.

India’s aggressive posture and are accompanied by one of the world’s largest military acquisition and development programmes, with over $70 billion spent last year on new conventional and non-conventional weapons systems on land, sea, air and space.

India has nuclearized the Indian Ocean; deployed anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs); developed and tested debris-generating Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons; and is constantly increasing the range, sophistication and diversification of all types of delivery systems and platforms.

India’s so-called “No first-use” policy lacks credence. Its Defence Minister himself cast doubt on this, when he held out the threat of pre-emptive nuclear attack last year . India has operationalized its “cold start” doctrine of a surprise attack against Pakistan, deploying several “strike force” brigades along the border; outlined plans for a naval blockade, and proclaimed the intention of fighting a “limited war” with Pakistan under the “nuclear overhang”.

Since the advent of Mr. Modi’s BJP-RSS Hindu extremist government in 2014, India has refused to engage in any dialogue with Pakistan on either the resolution of disputes, or the control of armaments and avoidance of war.

Disturbingly, India’s aggressive proclivities, and its military belligerence and pretentions to great power status, are being fed by those powers which are supplying it with the latest weaponry, either to turn a profit or to serve their strategic objectives in Asia.

The net result is exacerbation of tensions and military competition in the region, and an intensification of the threat to peace and security in South Asia, the Indian Ocean, and beyond.

Pakistan desires peace and strategic stability to achieve socio-economic development. Pakistan’s conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race.

However, Pakistan cannot remain oblivious to the disturbing security dynamics in our region. Pakistan will take all necessary measures to ensure its security and to maintain full spectrum deterrence.

Peace and stability in South Asia can only be achieved through:

● The resolution of disputes between Pakistan and India, particularly the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir;

● The maintenance of a balance between conventional forces; and

● Reciprocal measures for nuclear and missile restraint.

Pakistan’s proposal for a strategic restraint regime in South Asia, based on these inter-locking elements, remains on the table.

Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world, achieved in a universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory manner which assures undiminished security for all States, at the lowest possible level of armaments, as agreed by SSOD-I.

Nuclear disarmament, therefore, needs to be pursued in a comprehensive and holistic manner, addressing regional and global challenges, and conventional and non-conventional asymmetries.

To this end, it is essential to recognize and address the key motivations that drive States to possess nuclear weapons. These include (i) nuclear and conventional threats from larger military forces; (ii) the existence of disputes with more powerful states and the failure of the UN to implement its own resolutions to resolve such disputes; (iii) the failure of the UN collective security system to deter aggression and military threats; and (iv) discrimination in the application of international norms for arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

These legitimate concerns are distinct from the desire of some States to retain nuclear weapons as a matter of prestige to maintain or attain the status of a “global power” or to threaten and dominate non-nuclear weapon states.

Comprehensive disarmament and the establishment of an equitable and non-discriminatory international order can be promoted by: addressing the security concerns of all states; limiting conventional weapons stockpiles; strengthening the non-proliferation regime by pursuing non-discriminatory arrangements; and extending negative security assurances to non-nuclear weapon states.

The failure of the FMCT negotiations to start has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of discriminatory approaches that do not assure undiminished security for all states. A treaty which fails to address the asymmetries in fissile material stocks would only serve to freeze the status quo to the perpetual advantage of a select few, and will negatively impact our national security.

Pakistan, therefore, reiterates its call for forging of a new consensus on this issue that addresses existing asymmetries.

Pakistan also supports the immediate commencement of negotiations in the CD to conclude treaties on PAROS and Negative Security Assurances, as well as on other contemporary issues affecting international security, including chemical and biological terrorism, lethal autonomous weapons, cyber warfare and other types of destabilizing weapon systems.

Pakistan will contribute to the strengthening of the international non-proliferation regime as an equal partner.

Having demonstrated the credentials to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, we expect expansion of the NSG’s membership to be based on non-discriminatory and objective criteria and benchmarks.

The world today is confronted with multiple global challenges: the COVID crisis, the threat of climate catastrophe and the renewed danger of a nuclear conflict.

We cannot meet these challenges without multilateral cooperation and solidarity. Hyper nationalism and populist extremism must not prevent the international community from taking resolute measures to ensure peace and security and socio-economic development.

Our survival depends on it, he concluded.

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