Statement by Ambassador Masood Khan, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the 2014 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission (New York, 07 April 2014)

Mr. Chairman,

We congratulate you on your election as Chairman of the Commission this year. On behalf of the Pakistan delegation, I assure you and the newly elected Bureau of our full support and cooperation. We are confident that with your drive and leadership, this Commission should be able to cover new ground.

We associate ourselves with the statement made by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

We thank Deputy Secretary General Jan Elliason for his insightful opening statement.

Mr. Chairman,

Today, the global security is in a flux. Turbulence has erupted in new countries and regions with devastating impact, even as we deal with the consequences of chronic conflicts. Old disputes continue to fester. New challenges -- ranging from the space to the cyber space to the use of Lethal Armed Robotics and armed drones – are looming large on the horizon. Deadliest weapons of mass destruction and unbridled conventional build-up jeopardizes the security of us all.

And yet consensus on the disarmament agenda is elusive and fragile.

Mr. Chairman,

There is a compelling need to rebuild global agreement on the disarmament agenda. We believe that the best way to do that is to convene the Fourth Special Session on Disarmament (SSOD-IV), aimed at an integrated approach towards achieving the goal of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in a balanced and non-discriminatory manner, keeping in view the security interests of all states. For years, the Non-Aligned Movement has called for convening such a conference.

Mr. Chairman,

For almost a decade now, Pakistan has been advocating renewal and reconstruction of international consensus on disarmament issues. In his address to the High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament last year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for exploring common ground to revive and restore our collective agreement; and build a new consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation.

Rebuilding of the consensus is not going to be easy, given the interplay of competing perceptions, interests and approaches. However, it is becoming imperative for the Commission, as a deliberative body with universal membership, to give a fresh impetus for such an exercise.

Let me outline the factors influencing such an agreement:

    • Consensus building must proceed from the universally recognized premise that security is indivisible and based on the right of all States to equal security, both in the non-conventional and conventional fields, and at regional as well as international levels.
    • We must clearly understand at least three drivers for acquisition of weapons: perceived threats from superior conventional or non-conventional forces; disputes and conflicts with more powerful States; and discrimination in the application of international norms and laws.
    • An agreed, criteria-based and non-discriminatory approach must be evolved for promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy under appropriate international safeguards, in accordance with the international obligations of States.
    • Concerns arising from development, deployment and proliferation of Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems need to be addressed by means of legal instruments.
    • Development and use of armed drones and Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) must strictly conform to international law.

Mr. Chairman,

To bolster consensus, progress is required on all four core issues of the disarmament agenda:

    • There should be a renewed commitment to achieve nuclear disarmament within a reasonable timeframe. Without this commitment, the “bargain” of the non-proliferation regime will continue to erode.
    • Until nuclear disarmament is achieved, non-nuclear weapon states should be given assurances, through a universal and legally binding treaty, that they will not be threatened with the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.
    • The international legal regime must be strengthened in order to prevent militarization of outer space.
    • A Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) should be conceived and negotiated as an integral part of the overall disarmament agenda with the genuine desire to ensure equal security for all, on non-discriminatory basis. A lop-sided, uni-focal pursuit of an FMCT, driven by a non-proliferation prism, while soft-pedaling other core issues or relegating them to a back-burner, has not succeeded in the past. It is not going to work in the future either.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan welcomes the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) as a first step towards a more responsible transfer of arms and a means to reducing human suffering without impacting the self-defense needs of States. Pakistan calls for the next step of promoting conventional arms control at the regional and sub-regional levels, legal restraints on excessive production of such arms, and balanced reduction in conventional forces and armaments.

Pakistan supports the development of confidence building measures in the field of conventional arms. We have contributed constructively to the deliberations on this aspect in the last decade. We look forward to the Commission's proceedings on this important issue this year.

Mr. Chairman,

Pakistan's approach towards nuclear disarmament is determined by the guiding principles of the First Special Session of the General Assembly on Disarmament, which upholds the right of each state to undiminished security at the lowest level of armaments and military force.

As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the General Assembly last year: 'This means security for all; not security of a privileged few.'

Guided by the principles of restraint and responsibility, we will continue to adhere to our policy of Credible Minimum Deterrence. We do not want an arms race in South Asia; but we are fully attentive to the emerging security dynamics. Our deterrence will remain symmetric and credible.

Meanwhile, Pakistan will continue to pursue its policy of Strategic Restraint Regime comprising nuclear restraint, conventional balance and conflict resolution. In the past, we have engaged India to work on confidence building and nuclear risk reduction through a series of measures covering communication, pre-notification of missile flight tests, and accidents.

We believe that induction of a ballistic missile defense system in South Asia will be an escalatory and destabilizing step.

We call upon the international community to reverse discrimination and enable Pakistan to have full access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Pakistan needs this technology for producing more nuclear energy to redress its growing electricity deficit. We also call for making Pakistan a member of the export control regimes, especially the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Mr. Chairman,

The so-called deadlock afflicting the machinery of disarmament does not arise from the way it conducts its business. There is nothing wrong with the Disarmament Machinery, the rules of procedures or the working methods. The same institutions, rules and methods, in the past, produced the CWC and the CTBT, as well as guidelines for NWFZs and international arms transfers. The real challenge lies with the international strategic and political environment as perceived in capitals. What we need is the political will and due diligence, especially of major powers, and not attempts to rewrite the rules of procedure or reconfigure the disarmament machinery.

I thank you