Statement by Ambassador Nabeel Munir, Charge d’Affaires/Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations at the United Nations Disarmament Commission 2018 Session (April 03 2018)

Madam Chair,

We congratulate you on your election as Chair of this year’s substitutive session of the Commission. I assure you and the Bureau of Pakistan’s full support and cooperation during this year’s deliberations of the Commission.

Pakistan aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement yesterday.

Madam Chair,

The proceedings of this Commission are taking place against a turbulent global landscape. The international security environment is at its most fragile since the end of the Cold War and is fraught with serious challenges. Growing mistrust and rising geopolitical tensions have ushered in an era of big-power rivalry.

There has been a quantitative and qualitative increase in the production, acquisition and deployment of armaments worldwide. An insatiable desire for military domination by a few countries is affecting strategic stability at the global and regional levels.

The situation is rendered more difficult by the development and hostile use of cyber and other emerging technologies, including Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), armed drones, and advanced conventional hypersonic systems having global reach.

Madam Chair,

Lack of progress made by the Nuclear Weapons States in fulfilling their legal nuclear disarmament obligations constitutes the principal reason for the disarmament and non-proliferation landscape not presenting an optimistic picture.

The situation has become more serious due to recent developments; most notably, the articulation of nuclear ambitions by certain States to outmatch potential adversaries, threatening a new nuclear arms race.

This is a flagrant violation of the basic principles enshrined in SSOD-I, according to which, nuclear weapon States, together with other militarily significant States, have the primary responsibility for nuclear disarmament.

Madam Chair,

Another key challenge to long-held non-proliferation norms and rules is the grant of discriminatory waivers to some countries, based on political and economic considerations. These 'special arrangements' are not only discriminatory; they also open up the possibility of dual use of materials intended for peaceful purposes.

Nowhere is this practice of undermining security and stability by granting waivers and exemptions more obvious than in South Asia, where one country continues to build its strategic and conventional military capabilities through active support of big powers. This is leading to a scenario where the ideals of a peaceful and stable region are being ‘trumped’ by myopic political and economic considerations.

Madam Chair,

Disruption of strategic stability in South Asia by induction of nuclear weapons in our neighborhood fundamentally challenged Pakistan’s security. We were left with no option but to follow suit in order to restore strategic stability in the region and deter all forms of aggression.

Despite provocations and threats from within the neighborhood, Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a peaceful and stable region. Pakistan tabled a number of proposals to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and missiles. These included simultaneous accession to the NPT; regional CTBT; Zero Missile Regime in South Asia; simultaneous application of IAEA safeguards on all nuclear facilities and bilateral arrangements for reciprocal inspections and the signing of a Non-Aggression Pact. Unfortunately, none of these proposals elicited a positive response.

Peace and stability in South Asia cannot be achieved without (i) resolving underlying disputes; (ii) agreeing on measures for nuclear and missile restraint, and (iii) instituting conventional forces balance.

Our proposal for a strategic restraint regime, based on these three inter-locking elements, remains on the table. Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and avoidance of an arms race.

Madam Chair,

The existing and emerging challenges to global and regional security, and consequentially to arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament, need to be addressed holistically, on the basis of constructive and cooperative multilateralism. For over a decade, Pakistan has been advocating the renewal and rebuilding of an international consensus on disarmament issues, based on the principle of equal and undiminished security for all.

The international consensus which was reached four decades ago through SSOD-I in 1978 has been eroding ever since. Given the complex interplay of adversarial perceptions, strategic interests and divergent approaches, rebuilding consensus would be a challenge. A challenge that this Commission, as a deliberative body with universal membership, is well equipped to tackle.

Allow me to outline some factors that can lead us to such an agreement:

Madam Chair,

Prevention of an arms race in outer space is one of the core issues on the CD’s agenda, which has assumed increased significance and urgency over the years. Development and deployment of destabilizing weapon systems has direct relevance to the question of weaponization of outer space and threatens peace and stability, both at the global and the regional levels.

We reiterate our call for strengthening the legal regime to prevent the weaponisation of outer space by undertaking negotiations to this effect in the CD.

Madam Chair,

Some Nuclear Weapon States and their allies find it convenient to shift the focus away from their failure to comply with their legal disarmament obligations by calling for the start of negotiations for a highly discriminatory and imbalanced treaty – the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT). Calls by these states for negotiations on this treaty are completely cost-free for them, but carry huge security implications for other states, including Pakistan.

Pakistan voted against the non-consensus UNGA resolution 71/259 entitled “Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.” We did not accept the conclusions and recommendations produced by the ill-advised GGE on FMCT in 2015. Nor will we accept any recommendations that might emanate from the so-called High Level FMCT Expert Preparatory Group.

Madam Chair,

Pakistan has positioned itself as a mainstream partner in the international non-proliferation regime and the global efforts to strengthen nuclear security and safety. We have instituted a stringent national export control system and a robust nuclear security regime at par with the best international standards.

Our export controls are fully harmonized with those of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Australia Group. A robust Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV) and an inter-agency Oversight Board give effect to these measures.

Pakistan accords the highest priority to ensuring a fool-proof safety and security mechanism in chemical, biological and nuclear areas. Over the years, we have put in place extensive physical protection measures, strong Command and Control structures, and effective regulatory regimes.

Pakistan meets the international standards for gaining access to civil nuclear technology for meeting its growing energy needs in a safe, secure and safeguarded manner. Through a series of actions in diverse areas, we have demonstrated our credentials to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Madam Chair,

As manifestation of its continued commitment to the objective of non-proliferation, Pakistan hosted a Regional Seminar on 1540 last year, which was attended by 16 regional countries and international organizations. The Seminar served as a platform to provide useful guidance for participating States in their implementation of resolution 1540. We would be hosting another seminar on ‘Strategic Export Controls’ later this year and look forward to active participation by countries and organizations.

Madam Chair,

The challenges faced by the global security architecture as well as disarmament agenda and machinery require a cooperative approach aimed at rebuilding the consensus agreed by all States at SSOD-I.

We are encouraged by the successful outcome of the OEWG mandated to agree on the agenda and objectives of SSOD-IV. A successful SSOD-IV – which would be owned and driven by the Member States - would be an important step towards the revival of global consensus on general and complete disarmament.

I thank you.